Yet another telephone scam is attempting to defraud seniors in the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Yet another telephone scam is attempting to defraud seniors in the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Elderly Cowichan Valley woman scammed out of $5,000

Daughter sends warning to the community

An elderly widow in the Cowichan Valley lost $5,000 through a telephone and computer scam, and could have lost a lot more if her daughter hadn’t intervened.

The senior’s daughter Wendy said that at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, the computer her mother, who we will call “Susan” to protect her identity, uses started making noise and a huge warning appeared on the screen stating that her security had been compromised.

The message instructed Susan to call Microsoft for help, and when she called the number that was given, a man informed her that her security had been breached and he could help.

He had her phone his supervisor, who he said was a level-three fraud investigator.

Susan was told the “fraud investigator” would help her through her predicament and had her log into her online banking.

Once logged in, Susan was told that her account showed large payments from her bank account and VISA about to be made to a porn hub site.

RELATED STORY: SENIOR ON MID ISLAND FOOLED BY ‘GRANDSON SCAM,’ EVEN AFTER WARNING FROM BANK TELLER

“I believe they gained access to her account after calling her through remote access and showed her fake copies of her account,” Wendy said.

“They then convinced her that she had to go out and buy gift cards with her VISA and debit card to take the money out of her account before the fraudster did. They convinced her that after she bought the gift cards and provided them with the card information off the gift cards, they would transfer the money from the gift cards back into her account.”

Wendy said the scammers had also convinced Susan that, to protect her security, she could not tell anyone what was happening until they had finished the transaction.

She said they had instructed Susan that when she purchased the gift cards, she had to tell the store that the cards are Christmas presents for family.

The scammers instructed her to buy gift cards for Google Play and for Best Buy in lots of $1,000 each.

“Even at this amount, they seemed to know that the stores would ask questions,” Wendy said.

“One of the stores required a manager override to purchase $1,000 in gift cards, but when asked, [Susan] said they were for family just as she had been told to. The manager even did the override two times in a row. I wish these stores would ask elderly distressed shoppers if they had been asked to do this by someone over the phone, or provided a warning for them to call RCMP or their bank. Even at Christmas, I think buying $2,000 worth of the same kind of gift card is a bit strange.”

RELATED STORY: CHEMAINUS WOMAN WARNS OF SCAMS ON DATING SITES FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Wendy said her mom’s financial transactions continued for much of the day.

She said Susan picked up her grandchildren after school and took them with her on one of her runs to buy gift cards.

“That was my first warning,” Wendy said.

“When I got home, my son told me how he had gone to the store with his grandmother to buy gift cards because her bank had been hacked. I tried calling her for an hour, but her line was busy because these people were still convincing her to spend more money. When I finally got hold of her, she was asking me for a ride to the store. Her saving grace was she does not like to drive in the dark.”

Wendy said her mother was adamant that she could not tell her, or anyone, about what was happening in order to protect her security until the scammers had dealt with the situation, but she finally got Susan to tell her what was happening.

“It took me until 7 p.m. for her to finally be willing to speak to me,” Wendy said.

“They had been bombarding her all day and she was exhausted. We then spent hours calling the bank, credit card companies and the RCMP. I am sharing this story because when we talked to the RCMP, they told us that this has happened repeatedly and recently within the Cowichan Valley. I want to help protect other vulnerable people.”

RELATED STORY: FRAUDSTERS PROJECTED TO USE PET SCAMS TO GOUGE OVER $3M FROM CUSTOMERS: BBB

Wendy said the RCMP advised them that, with this scam, her mother had likely lost all of the money she used to purchase the gift cards.

“By making you go out to actually buy the items means you have no way to get the money back,” she said.

“Most people are devastated and embarrassed when this happens, so they don’t tell people. By being silent, it only helps the scammers by hiding what is happening. I also want to ask people who work in retail to look out for your customers. If you see an elderly distressed person, and they are purchasing questionable stuff, please reach out and talk to them. Ask if someone on the phone told them to do this. Tell them if they have any questions to call their bank or RCMP. We must all help look out for the more vulnerable members of society.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Scams

Just Posted

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read