The OPP are once again reminding people to be very cautious of phone and internet scams after one senior citizen lost a significant amount of money.
According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the scam began with a series of phone calls for which the Fraudsters claimed they were representatives of the courthouse and that the senior citizen needed to transfer money as part of an investigation.
The Fraudsters told the victim that “someone” had been opening bank accounts using her social insurance number.
They had the victim enter a verification number into google and called her until she drove to another community to deposit money into a Bitcoin machine.
The harassment continued, they wanted her to once again drive to another community and make another deposit. While making the second deposit in Kenora, the victim called 911 to report the incident.
According to the OPP, this is what has been happening and what you should be aware of:
The victim receives a phone call from someone pretending to work for a banking institution or government agency. Government agencies do not use bitcoin machines
The scammer tells you that your bank accounts are at risk, or you are being investigated and money needs to be secured in a Bitcoin account
They provide an address for you to deposit funds into a bitcoin machine
The fraudster requests you attend your banking institution to withdraw funds
After doing so, they request you to purchase prepaid gift cards and ask you to provide the gift card numbers or deposit the funds into a bitcoin machine
Oftentimes, there will be a request not to tell anyone, to keep it a secret to avoid further trouble
According to the OPP, this is how you should protect yourself:
If something doesn’t seem right… hang up
Call your local police services and meet with an officer
Make a follow-up call to the actual banking institution or government agency to confirm information, first doing research to confirm you are calling the right number since Caller IDs can be fake
For more information regarding ongoing scams in Canada or to report fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://antifraudcentre.ca/ . If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call Kenora OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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