WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A senior in West Vancouver has been victimized by a fraud scheme to the tune of $800,000.
Police say the fraudsters used a new version of the “bank inspector” scheme.
The victim started receiving phone calls earlier this year from people claiming to be reporting fraudulent activity on their personal credit card.
Constable Jeff Palmer with West Vancouver Police says there were a few more calls, “and then the victim was urged to call a second person, who was identified as a ‘bank fraud investigator,’ who placed the victim into contact with a third person, claiming to be deputy chief of the Vancouver Police. All a scam.”
The victim was told an investigation was underway at their bank and personal assets should be moved to a bank in another country, as a precaution.
“Unfortunately, the victim did so — over a series of three transfers — before realizing that this was, in fact, a scam. The losses are in excess of $800,000,” says Palmer.
“It’s certainly the largest of this type of fraud that I can recall. It’s an amount that, sadly, represents a majority of this victim’s current savings.”
He notes there was an attempt to reverse one of the wire transfers, but it was too late.
“There was a period of perhaps as long as two weeks prior to this being brought to police attention and brought to the attention of the financial situation. So unfortunately, any attempt to reverse the transfers has been unsuccessful. It leaves a difficult, if not impossible a circumstance for any hope of recovering the funds.”
Investigators in West Vancouver have been in touch with Toronto Police Services, where five other victims have apparently been scammed out of over $5.1 million in similar fraud schemes.
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“Thankfully, there is a supportive family around the victim, but this is a personally and financially devastating thing for a person to go through late in life,” adds Palmer.
Police are reminding you not to complete any money transfers or transactions requested by strangers through unsolicited phone calls, email, or online messaging. If you aren’t sure, you should talk to someone at your bank in person and always avoid giving out personal details over the phone.
Banks never ask someone to transfer your money to external accounts for security reasons.
If you believe you received a questionable call like the ones in this scheme, you should hang up and can contact police if the calls keep coming in.