An Oak Bay resident is out $10,000 after a scammer pretending to be an RCMP officer, told the victim his credit cards were compromised and they would help him get his money back.
Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties issued a reminder to the public on Monday evening, stating that “these scammers are very sophisticated and are well rehearsed in their craft.”
According to Bernoties, the scammer obtains a person’s cell phone number through a variety of means. Scammers pretend to be from the bank, BC Hydro, Revenue Canada, a police officer, a family member or a business.
“As they speak to you, they gather snippets of personal information that they can put together and paint a bigger picture of who you are,” Bernoties said in a statement.
Scammers use many different tactics, but the common one is to get the victim to purchase gift cards.
The scammer then asks the victim to scratch off the covered area on the back of the gift card and once the scammer obtains the serial number, the cash value of the card is immediately drained. If the scammer feels the person they’re targeting is still vulnerable, they will continue to manipulate that person to purchase more gift cards until their bank card is drained.
In this case, Bernoties says the victim had been scammed once before and the scammers called back to try again.
“Remember, these financial institutions will not call you this way and have you purchase gift cards,” said Bernoties, adding that if you don’t recognize the phone number — don’t answer it. “If you do answer … and they start asking you questions about financial issues, or tell you your bank account has been compromised — or even your grandchild is in jail — immediately hang up.”
Bernoties recommends blocking the number first, then calling the agency or financial institute the scammers are pretending to be by obtaining the real phone number from online or a phone book. Change your passwords immediately. Don’t use simple passwords and use various passwords for different devices.