“A new twist on an old fraud” is how Marc Depatie (dih-PAWTZ-ee) describes the latest telephone tactics of rip-off artists.

Depatie is communications coordinator for the Timmins Police Service. He says the callers  try to intimidate you into giving them personal information, claiming to represent a government agency that will arrest and charge you.

“Arrest authorities in Canada are very specific,” he notes. “They apply to certain sets of circumstances. No one can be arrested or taken into custody for refusing to provide information over the phone, in a phone call that they didn’t initiate.”

Depatie says that behaviour is fairly rampant right now, with police getting a fair number of calls about it.

“It is an absolute fraud.  There is no question. No harm can come to you for simply hanging up and ignoring the call.”

Depatie says a government agency would never place a call like that. It would come to your door or send you a letter about any issue in which you’re involved.