Text fraud results in 18 charges for two Toronto residents in secret shopper scam

The RCMP and Toronto Police Service are charging two Toronto residents with nine counts each of forgery stemming from a massive text-fraud scamming Canadians.

Obakore Akponah and Sophia Akponah, are accused of victimizing Canadians through a text-message-driven secret-shopping scam.

The RCMP seized equipment capable of sending 96,000 texts daily to random Canadians from an Etobicoke apartment bedroom that the RCMP says served as the send-out and cheque-forging location of the secret shopper scam.

Respondents to the texts received forged cheques that appeared to come from large Canadian businesses. The victims were then persuaded to deposit the money in their personal bank accounts and wire money to the accused’s “overseas confederates.” When the bank caught on to the forgery, the victims were forced to repay the money.

Police estimate that a daily text send-out stole approximately 400,000 dollars from Canadians.

The investigation began in January after HCMI Staffing Solutions notified the RCMP that forged cheques with their logo were being deposited by victims. HCMI Staffing Solutions, Goeasy and Ivari Insurance don’t direct mail cheques to people or look for secret shoppers through text messages.

In a recent press release the RCMP stated, “Anyone who receives a cheque in the mail is urged to contact the company purported to have issued it to confirm its authenticity prior to depositing it.”

If you received this type of cheque through the mail contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

[source]Canada Newswire[/source]