Some Manitoba residents have found that hitting redial after receiving a scam call will connect them to a real individual in the province.

That individual had nothing to do with the scam call. But technology allowing those behind scam calls to use real local phone numbers means Manitobans cannot just rely on caller ID to avoid such messages.

The development isn't new, according to Winnipeg police.

"The technology has been around for a number of years allowing someone to spoof any number they want. In fact, I had a technologically proficient colleague call me with my own number being displayed to illustrate how easy it is," says Constable Rob Carver with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS).

"It’s an unfortunate scenario, but not something local law enforcement can deal with."

Police say they haven't received many reports of these calls because the public is aware there is little that can be done to enforce these calls.

With any call that is automated or unexpected, WPS encourages residents to verify the identities of callers and refrain from producing payment methods over the phone.

Police also offer these tips for dealing with scam calls:

  • Be cautious of any unexpected callers, such as a bank. Take reasonable steps to confirm the identities of people who call.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency will never demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes, Amazon, or others.
  • They will also never use aggressive language or threaten you with arrest or sending the police.
  • Do not assume phone numbers appearing on call display screens are accurate. The Winnipeg Police Service encourages family members or friends to have discussions with their older loved ones to ensure they are not being targeted in this or any other scam.