Friday, June 14, 2024

Sophisticated scammers had full access to bank accounts of Victoria woman


A Victoria woman was nearly defrauded of thousands of dollars following a suspicious phone call last Friday.

Deb Tilley, who turned 64-years old on the day she was nearly swindled, was at work on Friday, March 3rd when she received a phone call from someone claiming to be from TD Canada Trust’s fraud department. The more she spoke with this individual, the more she became suspicious of the call.

She had a small matter reported to the fraud department of TD Canada Trust that had been taken care of swiftly by the bank, and when she received the call, Tilley assumed that they were just doing their due diligence and checking up on her to make sure she had been taken care of efficiently.

“Usually I don’t answer numbers I don’t know but I answered and they said fraud so I thought, ‘oh, okay, they’re just calling to follow up on that,’ but no,” Tilley told Victoria Buzz.

The man on the line told Tilley that a series of charges had been made to her credit card and had been blocked by the fraud department. He claimed that thousands of dollars in gift cards had been purchased through her account. Tilley said that he asked if she had been to New Brunswick, Central America or Victoria, where the charges originated.

“He said, ‘okay well this originated at the [TD] bank in Victoria, the bank that’s on Douglas Street,’” said Tilley. “He said there were some employees there who had done this, because I had asked, how did this happen.”

The man claiming to be a TD fraud representative said that he wanted to conduct a ‘sting operation’ to catch whoever had been trying to access her accounts. Tilley was told that ‘bait money’ would be deposited into her account and that she was to go to a specific “Best Buy convenience store” located in downtown Victoria. 

The name confused Tilley as she assumed that the man had been talking about Best Buy, the electronics corporation. 

There is however a small business located downtown called Best Buy Convenience at 1710 Douglas Street. The man on the phone asked Tilley to go to that store and withdraw money from the ATM located within the business. 

(Google Maps)

At this point Tilley asked the man, “Why are the RCMP not involved if this is a sting operation, why am I the one doing this.”

“I said, ‘I’m going to go to the bank,’ and he says, ‘no don’t go there because they’re the bad guys. If you do go there just go to the ATM.’”

At this point, Tilley hung up on the man and hurried to the bank to get some answers from the TD Canada Trust branch on Douglas Street.

At the bank she spoke with the branch manager as well as a teller trying to get some answers because the man on the phone claimed that the fraud had originated there. 

“The teller was really great,” Tilley told Victoria Buzz. “She took me to see the manager.”

The branch manager had the teller call the actual TD Canada Trust fraud department.

“It took me a while to actually fully trust the teller and the fraud people,” laughed Tilley. 

Once she was comfortably dealing with the legitimate fraud department, they were able to determine that the man Tilley spoke with was definitely a fraudster and that somehow the man had complete access to all her accounts.

The ‘bait money’ she had been told was deposited into her account was actually $16,000 that was transferred from her credit card account to her chequing account. It was her own money they were trying to scam her out of. 

The fraudster even asked her questions and sent her a two-factor authorization code to her phone in order to convince her that they were true representatives of TD Canada Trust. 

Tilley has now made new passcodes, and new cards are on the way. 

VicPD were called and made aware of the fraud attempt and that Best Buy Convenience was the destination the fraudster wanted her to withdraw money from. Their investigation is ongoing.

Curtis Blandy

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