Be aware of holiday heartstring scams

The Nova Scotia RCMP are advising the public to be aware of scams as the holidays approach.

Police say scammers continue to impersonate the Canada Revenue Agency and other agencies by asking for money or face being arrested.

The RCMP warns that heartstring scams, scams involving tactics to pull at the victim's heartstrings and emotions, are common this time of year.

Some heartstring scams to be on the lookout for include:

- Grandparent Scam: Scammers contact victims claiming to be a grandchild in trouble, and may ask the grandparent to guess who it is before identifying themselves with that name before asking the grandparent to send money and not tell anyone.

- Loss of Family Member Scam: Scammers use the obituaries to contact their victims who have recently lost a loved one, claiming the deceased had unpaid bills or debts that need to be paid right away.

- Love Interest Scam: Scammers meet their interest online or in person and express romantic interest, and will gain the victim's trust through ongoing communication before attempting to gain access to personal and financial information, and may ask for a quick "emergency loan" to pay a bill or their rent.

The RCMP offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim:
-- Never wire money to anyone unless you have confirmed their identity
-- Keep cell phone numbers for your children and grandchildren somewhere where you can easily locate them
-- Arrange to have a trusted family member or friend handle all financial matters in the days following the loss of a loved one
-- Keep your personal and financial documents locked in a safe place - do not carry them with you or share them with anyone

If you or a family member has fallen victim to a scam, report it to your local police, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.