THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Provincial Police report they are receiving many reports of financial scams targeting seniors and other vulnerable people across the province.
In this scam, individuals claiming to be investigators from one of Canada’s chartered banks convince victims to withdraw funds for use as evidence to assist with a bogus theft investigation involving bank personnel. After the money is withdrawn and handed to the phony bank inspector, the victim is told to go home and wait for a call confirming the money has been re-deposited in their account. Unfortunately, that call never comes. In several recent cases, seniors have complied and were subsequently defrauded of thousands of dollars.
“This type of fraud, preying on seniors and vulnerable persons, is one more way in the already long history of fraud-related crimes. Increasing awareness of fraud is the first step toward decreasing its devastating impact.” said Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
Guard against becoming a victim before providing money or credit card information. Check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information. Remember, neither your financial institution nor a police investigator will ever ask you to withdraw money from your account or assist with an undercover investigation. It is also vitally important that the incident be reported if it does occur, to allow police to investigate and charge the perpetrators.
If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact your local police service, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) and report the crime.
“If you are suspicious about a caller or the information being requested, protect yourself…hang up the phone! And then report the crime!” advises Detective Inspector Paul Beesley, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch