Woman loses nearly $16,000 in phone scam, Abbotsford police say
An Abbotsford police cruiser is seen in this undated file image.
VANCOUVER -- Abbotsford police are warning residents to be wary of scams after one local woman was defrauded of thousands of dollars last weekend.
Police say the woman got a call from someone pretending to be a security officer from a local bank, saying there was suspicious activity on her account. The person even had the last four digits of the victim's bank card and used that to convince the victim they were legitimate.
In order to recover the funds, the woman was told she would have to buy several gift cards and give their numbers and PINs to the person pretending to work for the bank.
But the scam didn't end there, as the woman was then asked to supposedly help police and the bank track down the those responsible for the suspicious activity. She was asked to give the person calling remote access to her computer and personal bank account. After giving that information, a $20,000 deposit appeared in her account and the victim was asked to purchase even more gift cards.
Soon after giving up the numbers and PINs of those cards, however, the $20,000 was removed. She ended up losing $15,900, police say.
"Many citizens who are victimized are either embarrassed, or actually believe that they are in trouble, so they don’t question the transaction," Sgt. Judy Bird with the Abbotsford Police Department said in a news release.
Police are reminding residents that calls, texts and emails that seem threatening and demand immediate payment in unusual forms like gift cards or Bitcoin should be considered suspicious.
Anyone who thinks they're the victim of a scam should gather as much information about the incident as they can, then contact their local authorities and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.