Oak Bay Police are issuing a reminder to be vigilant of phone scammers after a local senior resident lost thousands of dollars to one.
In a statement issued on Monday, police reported that a senior man living in Oak Bay had lost $10,000 after scammers called him pretending to be RCMP officers and persuaded him to buy gift cards and divulge credit card information.
According to police, this individual was vulnerable, had been scammed before, and so the fraudsters called back to take advantage of him again.
Today a resident was scammed out of $10,000 by someone pretending to be the RCMP. 😡The senior was manipulated to purchase gift cards & provide information. Please do not provide personal info to anyone who calls you. Please try to inform any vulnerable people you know. #OakBay
— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) March 3, 2020
As a result, officers are warning the public that scammers are well rehearsed in their craft and use a variety of personas, like representatives from a bank, BC Hydro, Revenue Canada, Police, a family member or any other business, to commit fraud.
“They will use many different tactics, but the common one is to keep you on your cell phone or have you call them back at a certain number while you attend a business to purchase gift cards like Google Play, Apple iTunes, or other gift cards,” says Oak Bay Police.
“They will have you scratch off the covered area on the back of the card. Once they get the serial number from you, the cash value of the card is immediately drained, and it is worthless to you. If they feel you’re vulnerable, they will continue to manipulate you to purchase even more cards until your bank account is drained.”
Members of the public who may be at risk of falling prey to one of these scams are advised to not answer the phone unless they recognize the number on display.
Those who answer the phone and are given shocking information about compromised bank accounts or even grandchildren in jail are warned to hang up immediately.
Victims of these scams should then block the number and call the institution which the scammers were impersonating and verify.
“Change your passwords immediately and do not use simple passwords,” says Oak Bay Police.
“Use different passwords for different applications.”