Victoria, BC – Officers are warning the public after an elderly woman was defrauded of $3,000 by a gift card scam.
On Sunday, September 6th, an 83-year-old Victoria woman contacted officers to report that she was the victim of a fraud. The woman explained that she was called by an unknown number. The caller identified themselves as a representative of Visa and told the woman that her Visa account had been hacked. The caller told the woman that her Visa had been used to accumulated $2,600 in charges at eBay along with a transfer of funds to American currency.
The caller told the woman that in order to stop the charges from continuing, she needed to purchase $5,000 in Google Play gift cards and provide the card information to the caller. The caller then instructed the woman to attend various convenience stores and purchase $1,000 Google Play cards at each location. After purchasing the cards, the woman provided the card information to the caller. In total, the woman purchased $3,000 in Google Play cards before a staff member at a fourth location alerted the woman to the fraud.
These fraudsters are often both aggressive and convincing. They will often “spoof” legitimate telephone numbers like those of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and local police departments, including VicPD. They often will not allow their potential victims to hang up or leave the phone call.
A financial institution will never require gift cards be purchased in order to resolve banking issues.
If someone contacts you by telephone claiming to be from a financial institution and asks you to pay money or purchase gift cards to resolve a banking issue, hang up. It’s a scam.
What to do if you receive one of these calls and gave out personal information or money:
It is important to act quickly if you’ve received one of these calls and have given out personal information or money. If you are in the process of providing financial information or sending money to potential fraudsters – stop immediately.
Contact your financial institutions and ensure all payments that you have not authorized are stopped. Inform them of the fraud and change both passwords and access information. Please also call our non-emergency number at (250) 995-7654 to report the incident.
What to do if you receive one of these calls, but didn’t give out personal information or money:
You don’t need to report it to us directly.
We encourage you to report the fraud attempt to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or online at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm.
The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre keeps law enforcement partners across Canada informed about the latest fraud attempts and the best ways to counter them.
For more information on keeping yourself safe from fraud, please visit vicpd.ca/fraud
Victoria Police Department
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