A 71-year-old new Canadian from Coquitlam has been stripped of tens of thousands of dollars by bank security scammers.
According to a Coquitlam RCMP release, the victim got a call on March 1 from scammers posing as “corporate security” workers at a Canadian bank. The scammers told her that her credit card had been “compromised” and in order to “recover the money,” pressured her into purchasing over $16,000 in gift cards at three different stores.
“Once the numbers for those cards were shared over the phone, the money was essentially gone,” Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said in the release.
McLaughlin said Coquitlam RCMP are aware that fraudsters are targeting a small, vulnerable percentage of the population with high-pressure scare tactics, and the bank security shakedown is currently “number one” on their list of concerning scams.
The best defence? Hang up and verify.
“For many scams, the best defence is to verify,” he said. “If it’s a legitimate call from the bank or the government, you’ll be able to hang up, talk to a trusted friend, then look up the bank’s number yourself and call them back.”
Banks and government agencies will never request payment in gift cards, Bitcoin, or any form of online or virtual credit, he added.
For more information on evolving scams, or to report a scam where you haven’t lost money, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca.
If you think you’ve lost money to a scam, call the local police.