Emergency briefs: Dunrobin fire, Almonte ATM theft, Carleton Place distraction theft

DUNROBIN – Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) spent the early morning hours tackling a large house fire in Dunrobin today (March 13).

A photo of a fire truck and police car.

According to OFS’ public information officer Nicholas DeFazio, a passerby was flagged down by the homeowner of a residence in the 400 block of Berry Side Road around 4:30 a.m.

The passerby called 911 to report a single-family home had gone up in flames and all occupants had made it out safely.

Firefighters arrived in scene and confirmed the home was fully involved with visible flames coming from all four sides of the structure.

Two large propane tanks on the property were isolated, disconnected and removed from the proximity of the home.

There are no injuries reported but OFS tells CityNews Ottawa the home is compeletely destroyed.

A fire investigator has been dispatched to the scene to determine the origin and cause.

New fraud scam targeting local businesses, hotels

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Fraud Unit is warning of a new fraud scheme targeting businesses and hotels in the Ottawa area.

“The incidents reported all follow the same pattern: a fraudster, usually male, will call the business claiming to be the owner or manager stating that there is an urgent need to pay a bill related to the business,” the OPS released in a statement today (March 13). “They then direct the employee to gather funds from the register, safe or office and deposit it into a bitcoin machine or to Western Union. In some instances the suspect was familiar with employee names and local business policies.”

No government agency or legitimate business will ask you to purchase gift cards or bitcoin in order to settle an account. 

If you have been a victim of fraud, please make a report online with the Ottawa Police Service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 (toll-free).

You can read more about scams and tips to protect yourself. You can also visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for information on popular scams and the Toronto Police Service for tips on how to protect yourself from scams.

Fraudsters impersonating RCMP cyber crimes investigator

SMITH FALLS – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is investigating an online scam in which one of the fraudsters claims to be a fraud investigator from the RCMP.

“A Hawkesbury resident recently received a pop-up message on her screen indicating there was a virus on her computer and to contact ‘Apple’ at a number provided,” OPP Anti-Rackets Branch acting detective Sgt. John Armit released in a statement today (March 13). “The victim called the number and was directed to download a popular remote entry software, allowing the fraudster, posing as a tech support employee, then gained control of the victim’s computer.”

The fraudster proceeded to tell the victim her Internet Protocol (IP) address was associated to an international child pornography and money laundering investigation and quickly “transferred” the victim to a fake RCMP cyber crimes investigator.

“The savvy victim challenged the fraudster with questions and was able to determine it was a fraud,” Armit said. “The victim promptly notified the OPP, who provided the victim with resources and information allowing her to flag her financial accounts and mitigate any financial losses.”

In 2023, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received reports totaling $22.2 million in losses related to service frauds.

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself:

  • Be suspicious about unsolicited phone calls, emails or pop-ups stating your computer/device is infected with a virus, a threat has been detected or a subscription will be automatically renewed.
  • Look up the legitimate phone number for the company and communicate with them directly by always making the outgoing call.
  • Never allow an individual to remotely access your computer. If you are experiencing problems with your operating system, bring it to a local technician.
  • Never provide any personal or financial information over the telephone, unless you initiated the call.

Remember, if you become a victim to of a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.

Follow our social media, using hashtags #FPM2024, #kNOwfraud and @canantifraud, as we will be posting on information on fraud prevention via social media each week during the month of March.

Distraction theft in Carleton Place

CARLETON PLACE – The Lanark County Detachment of the OPP is investigating a distraction theft in Carleton Place.

A photo of two suspects.
The OPP released this photo of two suspects wanted in connection with a distraction theft. One of the faces is blurred because the OPP believe that person may be a minor. Courtesy the OPP

A woman called the OPP on Feb. 20, shortly after 2:30 p.m. to report her purse had been stolen from her car while parked at a grocery store on McNeely Avenue.

“The victim was preparing to drive away when two women approached her, with one indicating she had dropped change under the victim’s car,” OPP media relations coordinator Bill Dickson released in a statement today (March 13). “The victim got out and recovered the change. While this was happening, a witness reports seeing a man open the front passenger door of the victim’s car, remove something and walk away. That man got into a grey hatchback, potentially a Honda CRV, with the two female accomplices and drove north on McNeely Avenue.”

It was after this a good Samaritan approached the victim, and she realized her purse had been taken.

“Surveillance video has revealed the two women, and the man were traveling together before and after the theft,” Dickson said.

The woman who created the distraction is described as being in her 40s with shoulder length dark hair. The man is described only as being in his 40s.

Anyone with information should contact the Lanark OPP at 1-888-310-1122. If you want to remain anonymous, call Lanark County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. You can also leave anonymous tips online at ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

ATM theft in Almonte

ALMONTE – The Lanark County Detachment of the OPP is investigating a break-in and theft at an ATM in Almonte.

“Officers responded March 10, when damage was discovered at the ATM on Ottawa Street,” OPP media relations coordinator Bill Dickson released in a statement today (March 13). “It’s believed the thieves began tampering with the bank machine around 3:30 a.m. that day. They eventually made off with thousands of dollars in cash. The investigation is continuing, with assistance from the OPP Forensic Identification Services Unit.”

Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area early Sunday morning, or who has other relevant information, should contact the Lanark OPP at 1-888-310-1122. If you want to remain anonymous, call Lanark County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. You can also leave anonymous tips online at ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

OPP continue to find impaired drivers across the Ottawa Valley

ONTARIO – The number of impaired drivers on eastern Ontario roadways, policed by the OPP, has declined compared to this time last year.

So far in 2024, OPP officers have investigated 184 impaired driving incidents in the area stretching from Quinte West to the Quebec border and up the Ottawa Valley. By this time last year, there had been 232 impaired driving cases.

“The decline is positive news, but one impaired driver is one too many,” OPP Regional Traffic and Marine Manager Insp. Walid Kandar said. “Being impaired while driving, whether by alcohol or drugs, can have deadly consequences for the driver, their family or others on the road.”

OPP officers across eastern Ontario will continue to conduct RIDE programs, during the day and at night in an effort to discourage impaired driving and to catch those who continue to make poor decisions.

If you are drinking or consuming drugs, make smart choices. Have a designated driver, call a cab or use a ride-share service.

If you suspect someone is driving impaired, call 911. You could save lives.

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