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Hamilton police (HPS) are warning residents about an increase in online fraud involving Social Insurance Numbers.

Police say in many instances, people are receiving a recorded phone call that directs you to call back immediately, or press “1” to avoid prosecution.

Major Fraud Unit investigators are urging you to not call back or press “1”, saying no official administrative center will ever use high-pressure tactics, be disrespectful, contact you through text or require you to pay any money through gift cards or Bitcoins.

“There were no incidents of the SIN Scam previous to Sept. 2019 and now HPS has had 18 formal complaints as well as the numerous phone calls I get by citizens wanting me to be aware,” said Hamilton Police Staff Sergeant Greg Doerr of the Major Fraud Branch in an email to Global News Radio, 900 CHML.

Police say “when in doubt, just hang up.”

They say the scammers will direct victims to ‘pay their fines’ using gift cards or Bitcoin machines.

Frequent reoccurring scams involve criminals pretending to be government officials seeking money for taxes or immigration fees.

The Government of Canada provides detailed information on how to protect your Social Insurance Number, including who can ask for it, on their website.

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