Have all the info so you don’t fall victim to scams

I’m on a distribution list with the Prince Edward OPP Detachment and recently received a bulletin from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre about “bank investigator” fraud. What will they think of next? The key to not falling for these types of frauds is to have information so you can recognize it as a scam.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports in the bulletin that they continue to receive reports from victims who have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from their financial institution, law enforcement or one of their online merchants. Suspects claim that there have been suspicious charges on your credit card or in your online account. They claim the charge is either from an online purchase, in store transaction or overseas transfer. They then state they need your credit card information to cancel the transaction. Many reports indicate that scammers will gain access to the victims’ computer to continue the “investigation”. Victims are then shown a fraudulent transaction on their online banking account. The scammers state they want the victims’ help in an ongoing “investigation” against the criminals who stole their money. The alleged bank investigator and/or law enforcement official indicates they will send victims a deposit of funds, for the victims to send overseas as part of the “investigation”. It is not until the transfers are completed that the victims realize funds were never deposited into their account.

These are some of the warning signs and how to protect yourself: calls from Bank Investigator scammers tend to happen early in the morning when a victim is still sleeping or not alert. Financial institutions or online merchants will never request transferring funds to an external account for security reasons. Criminals use Call-Spoofing to mislead victims. Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate. Never provide remote access to your computer. If you get an incoming call claiming to be from your financial institution, advise the caller that you will call them back. End the call and dial the number on the back of your card from a different phone if possible or wait 10 minutes before making the outgoing call.

Learn more tips and tricks for protecting yourself. Community Care regularly offers webinars on this topic with Constable Aaron Miller, Community Safety Officer or a lawyer as the speaker. Check the online calendar at www.communitycareforseniors.org for the next event.

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or by phone at 1- 888-495-8501. If not a victim, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre anyways.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes