Victoria police are warning the public after a series of criminal fraud incidents – including a funeral expenses loan scam – totalled losses of more than $5,000.
In four incidents, between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16, computer-aided fraudsters stole a total of $5,400 from victims.
On Feb. 12, a victim received a phone call from a scammer, informing them that their computer had been infected with spam. The caller had the victim share their computer screen in order to ‘fix the problem’ but once they did, the scammer focused on the victim’s banking information and convinced them to purchase $500 worth of Google Play cards, take pictures of the information on the back and send the pictures to the scammer.
Then, on Feb. 14, a victim reported they had received a series of phone calls from a scammer informing them they needed to wire money to access a line of credit. The scammer promised unsolicited financial services to the victim for a fee. The victim sent $900 by wire transfer before they realized they had been scammed.
Victoria police say the scammer had also compromised the victim’s personal information and bank accounts, and likely would have stolen more had the incident not been reported to police. Police emphasize that requests for wire transfers for local financial services, or payments through online cards, are likely scams.
On Feb. 16. a victim reported being the victim of a romance scam, in which they had met the scammer on the Finally dating app and begun what they thought was a legitimate relationship. The scammer said there had been a death in their family and asked for $2,700 for funeral expenses, which the victim provided.
Police warn the public to be wary of any requests for money from someone you have met online, even if they’ve provided photos or spoken over the phone.
“Sophisticated romance scammers will take the time so you believe the relationship is genuine before attempting the fraud,” VicPD noted in a release. “If someone you’ve met online, but never in person, asks you for money, beware – it’s likely a scam.”
Another report to police on Feb. 16 came after a victim received several phone calls informing them they need to pay tax on money they had won. The victim sent $1,400 by wire transfer before realizing they had been scammed.
Anyone who has fallen victim to fraud is asked to stop payment immediately, contact their financial institution and call the VicPD report desk at 250-995-7654, ext. 1. Fraud or attempted fraud can also be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at antifraudcentre.ca.
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