Fraudsters continue to prey on unsuspecting victims; ” elderly complainant is believed to have couriered more than $47,000 to the suspect”

Edmonton, Alberta – The Edmonton Police Service is cautioning citizens against providing bank or identity information to anyone over the telephone, on the heels of multiple fraud investigations in recent weeks.

In late August, an 80-year-old female complainant was contacted by a male claiming to be an investigator with her financial institution. It was reported to police, the suspect advised the elderly woman that there appeared to be suspicious activity involving her bank credit card and SIN number. Her involvement, she was told, was critical to the bank’s alleged investigation into similar frauds.

The woman was initially directed to send gift cards including Sephora and Google Play, then was subsequently instructed to send shoe boxes of cash through FedEx. The elderly complainant is believed to have couriered more than $47,000 to the suspect, $6,000 of which was successfully recovered by FedEx and returned to the complainant.

“These are merely several examples, the tip of the iceberg really, concerning multiple fraud investigations that have been reported to police over the last month,” said Det. Jason Lapointe, of the EPS Economic Crimes Section.

“And just when we learn of one scheme, there’s another one already making the rounds in Edmonton and communities across the world. The best advice I can give citizens is to remember this simple acronym – DGV – Disengage from the person on the phone…Go directly to the Source, your bank etc…and Verify whether the claim made by the individual on the telephone is true.”

In another incident in late August, it was reported to police that a 76-year-old male lost close to $80,000 in relation to a fraudulent money transaction conducted over the telephone. A male suspect claiming to be from a computer security company contacted the elderly complainant to inform him that he was owed a $400 refund. The complainant was then asked for, and subsequently provided, online access to his bank account to deposit the alleged refund.

Scammers Calling
(File Photo) Scammers Calling

On Sept. 19th, a 60-year-old female complainant was using her home PC when a “pop-up” appeared, instructing her to call Microsoft to deal with an alleged virus on her computer. The complainant called the phone number provided and was then instructed to deposit $45,000 in Bitcoin to resolve the issue.

Earlier the same week, police launched another fraud investigation in connection to a 41-year-old woman who was conned out of $38,000. In this case, the female complainant was contacted by someone alleging to be from the Canada Revenue Agency, and claiming the woman owed $38,000 to the federal agency, a scam that has produced victims across Canada. The Edmonton woman was then instructed to deposit $38,000 into an area Bitcoin machine.

“Frankly, it’s heartbreaking for investigators to see anyone victimized by fraud, especially seniors, who are already on fixed incomes,” says Lapointe. “They often lose their life savings, and in many cases their money is not recovered.”

Anyone with information regarding fraud or deceptive telemarketing can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Further information regarding current frauds or scams can be found on the CAFC website at:
http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

Additional fraud-related information can also be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website at:
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/security/protect-yourself-against-fraud.html

Anyone who has fallen victim to a fraud in Edmonton can contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

Edmonton Police Service

MRU #: 20R089

“Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve”



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