Thousands of dollars have been recovered from an international fraud and money laundering scheme that made its way to the island, according to Victoria Police.
In Spring 2018, a Victoria woman reported that she had become a victim of an online scam that offered to clean her computer of viruses for $1,400. A few months later, after parting with the money, the same victim was contacted by the scammer again over email.
The scammer then told the victim that the company they worked for had fired the employee that charged her $1,400 and promised that the money would be returned to her.
She then followed a series of directions to try reclaim her money until eventually the scammer convinced her that she would receive the money but would have to re-send it due to Canadian tax laws.
Police say that the scammers were laundering money from other fraud victims at the same time through this victim, explaining why the money needed shuffled through her account and re-sent.
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Once the original victim reported the scam, her bank placed a hold on the payments.
Since then, VicPD investigators have identified victims of the scam from all across North America, including Victoria, Ontario, New York, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.
With the assistance of banks and other law enforcement departments, over $35,000 was recovered from a bank account in India and has been returned to its rightful owners.
$23,000 was returned to a victim in Ontario, and $12,000 was returned to an individual in Wisconsin.
No criminal charges have been laid, but investigators are continuing to look for victims in both Canada and the US.
If you have been a victim of fraud, especially in a case that resembles this one, VicPD recommends you contact them at 250-995-7654.