Yet another telephone scam is attempting to defraud seniors in the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Yet another telephone scam is attempting to defraud seniors in the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Elderly Cowichan Valley woman scammed out of $5,000

Daughter sends warning to the community

An elderly widow in the Cowichan Valley lost $5,000 through a telephone and computer scam, and could have lost a lot more if her daughter hadn’t intervened.

The senior’s daughter Wendy said that at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 7, the computer her mother, who we will call “Susan” to protect her identity, uses started making noise and a huge warning appeared on the screen stating that her security had been compromised.

The message instructed Susan to call Microsoft for help, and when she called the number that was given, a man informed her that her security had been breached and he could help.

He had her phone his supervisor, who he said was a level-three fraud investigator.

Susan was told the “fraud investigator” would help her through her predicament and had her log into her online banking.

Once logged in, Susan was told that her account showed large payments from her bank account and VISA about to be made to a porn hub site.

RELATED STORY: SENIOR ON MID ISLAND FOOLED BY ‘GRANDSON SCAM,’ EVEN AFTER WARNING FROM BANK TELLER

“I believe they gained access to her account after calling her through remote access and showed her fake copies of her account,” Wendy said.

“They then convinced her that she had to go out and buy gift cards with her VISA and debit card to take the money out of her account before the fraudster did. They convinced her that after she bought the gift cards and provided them with the card information off the gift cards, they would transfer the money from the gift cards back into her account.”

Wendy said the scammers had also convinced Susan that, to protect her security, she could not tell anyone what was happening until they had finished the transaction.

She said they had instructed Susan that when she purchased the gift cards, she had to tell the store that the cards are Christmas presents for family.

The scammers instructed her to buy gift cards for Google Play and for Best Buy in lots of $1,000 each.

“Even at this amount, they seemed to know that the stores would ask questions,” Wendy said.

“One of the stores required a manager override to purchase $1,000 in gift cards, but when asked, [Susan] said they were for family just as she had been told to. The manager even did the override two times in a row. I wish these stores would ask elderly distressed shoppers if they had been asked to do this by someone over the phone, or provided a warning for them to call RCMP or their bank. Even at Christmas, I think buying $2,000 worth of the same kind of gift card is a bit strange.”

RELATED STORY: CHEMAINUS WOMAN WARNS OF SCAMS ON DATING SITES FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Wendy said her mom’s financial transactions continued for much of the day.

She said Susan picked up her grandchildren after school and took them with her on one of her runs to buy gift cards.

“That was my first warning,” Wendy said.

“When I got home, my son told me how he had gone to the store with his grandmother to buy gift cards because her bank had been hacked. I tried calling her for an hour, but her line was busy because these people were still convincing her to spend more money. When I finally got hold of her, she was asking me for a ride to the store. Her saving grace was she does not like to drive in the dark.”

Wendy said her mother was adamant that she could not tell her, or anyone, about what was happening in order to protect her security until the scammers had dealt with the situation, but she finally got Susan to tell her what was happening.

“It took me until 7 p.m. for her to finally be willing to speak to me,” Wendy said.

“They had been bombarding her all day and she was exhausted. We then spent hours calling the bank, credit card companies and the RCMP. I am sharing this story because when we talked to the RCMP, they told us that this has happened repeatedly and recently within the Cowichan Valley. I want to help protect other vulnerable people.”

RELATED STORY: FRAUDSTERS PROJECTED TO USE PET SCAMS TO GOUGE OVER $3M FROM CUSTOMERS: BBB

Wendy said the RCMP advised them that, with this scam, her mother had likely lost all of the money she used to purchase the gift cards.

“By making you go out to actually buy the items means you have no way to get the money back,” she said.

“Most people are devastated and embarrassed when this happens, so they don’t tell people. By being silent, it only helps the scammers by hiding what is happening. I also want to ask people who work in retail to look out for your customers. If you see an elderly distressed person, and they are purchasing questionable stuff, please reach out and talk to them. Ask if someone on the phone told them to do this. Tell them if they have any questions to call their bank or RCMP. We must all help look out for the more vulnerable members of society.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Scams

Just Posted

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

(Black Press Media file photo)
Copper piping missing, as suspect found with tools in Oak Bay commercial block

Police briefs include missing dinghy, speed stop turned impaired, wallet swiped from unlocked car

(Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure closes Oak Bay pub, restaurant

Penny Farthing, Vis-a-Vis expected to reopen Wednesday after deep clean

A new multi-family residential project at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street will feature nine below market-priced units aimed at middle-income, first-time homebuyers, through a partnership between BC Housing and the developer. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Middle-income first time homebuyers gain access to nine homes in Victoria

BC Housing partners with development community to create affordable purchases

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read