An elaborate phone scam has ripped off another unsuspecting Abbotsford citizen – this time for almost $16,000.
The victim received a call from someone pretending to be a “security officer” at a local bank, who said there was some suspicious activity on the target’s bank account. Because the scammer knew the last four digits of the victim’s bank card, they were assumed to be legitimate.
From there victim was told that to purchase giftcards and send the numbers and pins to the bank in order to recover the stolen money. After this was done, the scammers told the victim to provide remote access to their computer and personal bank account to help police track down the imagined thieves.
Abbotsford police have issued their second public warning in the span of a month regarding a spike in fraud crimes. This is the tenth known victim of this type of scam in the past 5 months.
Thieves have been able to fleece almost $85,000 from residents by using schemes where they pretend to be employees of official institutions, such as police agencies, the Canada Revenue Agency, the social insurance and immigration offices.
“Phone calls, text messages or email threatening arrest, demanding immediate payment, or demanding payment in unusual forms – such as gift cards or Bitcoin – are SUSPICIOUS,” reads the Abbotsford Police Department’s warning.
The department’s release gives tips to protect yourself from potential scammers: beware of “recovery scams,” where victims are targeted more than once with promises of recuperating losses; go to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for information on new types scams and educate those around you.
Its likely that there are even more unreported scams, as many victims are “either embarrassed, or actually believe that they are in trouble, so they don’t question the transaction,” said Sgt. Judy Bird, media officer for Abbotsford Police Department.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.