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Ottawa police, city officials puzzled by "stay home" robocalls

The calls have been reported by people on social media, across Canada, as well as in the U.S. and even Australia.
Phone scam
Phone scam (via Shutterstock)

It's a mystery that's been going on for months: robocalls that are seemingly benign, but are leaving a lot of people creeped out as a computerized voice tells them to "stay safe and stay home."

The earliest social media reports of the calls were back in May, and they're still being received by people in the Ottawa area.

The message is short and and simple: "Time to stay home," a computerized woman's voice says, "Stay safe and stay home." 

The call ends, without any identifying information about who's behind it.

The calls have been reported by people on social media, across Canada, as well as in the U.S. and even Australia.

"There has been no report involving that kind of message, so I can't say if it is legitimate or where it is originating from," said Sgt. Chantal Arsenault, Ottawa Police Service Fraud Unit.

The calls often appear to come from local numbers, a technique fraudsters will use called 'spoofing,' to trick you into answering.

"For this reason it is nearly impossible for police to resolve these complaints," said Arsenault. "The suspects are very good at covering their tracks and can disguise their contact numbers and computer IP addresses."

Other police services in Canada have pointed out that there's no element of fraud to investigate: no demand for your money, nor your personal information.

Ottawa Public Health tells 1310 NEWS it is aware of these calls, but they aren't coming from them, and they don't know who's responsible.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission regulates telemarketing and told our Calgary station, 660 NEWS, last month that it doesn't comment on ongoing investigations.




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Jason White

About the Author: Jason White

Jason is an award-winning reporter on 1310 NEWS.
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