White Rock RCMP has offered a number of safety tips after a senior asked police to share their story of being scammed by a “sophisticated” fraudster.
In a news release issue Monday (July 20), police say that even though the senior is a retired accountant and well-versed with online banking, they still fell victim to an elaborate scam that involved a fraudster gaining access to their computer.
According to police, the victim was in the midst of online banking when a phone call came in from a person identifying themselves as a credit card security representative.
Somehow, prior to the call, the suspect already had remote access to the victim’s computer and gave the illusion they were fixing a security breach.
“This involved gaining trust and confidence of the victim so that they would transfer funds through the use of gift cards,” the release says. “Although the victim thought the gift card request was suspicious, the convincing nature of the suspect and the rationale provided overcame this suspicion.”
Police say the suspect had personal knowledge of the victim, which may have been acquired through months of innocuous phone calls asking for a few details at a time, or through a computer breach.
In sharing steps people can take to prevent similar frauds, police encourage any resident who receives an unsolicited call to ask for the caller’s name, file number and phone number.
“Tell them you will call them back to verify identity… do not take no for an answer,” the release states. “They may persuade you to call them back on a number they provide, don’t. If the company is one you know and trust, look online for their phone number and call that number. If you do not recognize the company that called you, do not call back.”
Police also caution against trusting information that shows up on call display, as it can be fake.
“Gift cards of any type are NEVER forms of payment for banks, police, government institutions, or businesses that are not listed on the card,” the release states.