HURON COUNTY – There are many fraudsters out there looking to take your money, your identity, and your personal sense of security. Keeping yourself safe, as well as keeping your older parents or grandparents safe means taking the time to make them aware of those scams and frauds.
The Ontario Provincial Police in Huron County Ontario recently reported on an incident in which a senior was taken advantage of for $8000.
The OPP report, “A scammer has set back a Central Huron resident $8,000 after the victim fell for a deceptive Google Play gift card scam.
“It all started when the victim in this matter received a call from someone pretending to work for her bank. She was informed by this supposed bank employee her bank account had been hacked and $600 had been stolen from her account and wired to India. The scammer then pretended to transfer her call to the “fraud department”. She was then informed the bank would contact the wire transfer service on her behalf and would try to get her money back for her. She received a return call later in the day to advise her the bank was successful in getting her money back plus an extra thousand dollars.
“The victim was then instructed she had to repay the wire transfer service company by purchasing Google Play cards. The victim ultimately complied with the scammer’s requests and purchased a total of $8,000 worth of Google Play gift cards. The scammer led the victim to believe the bank had provided her money to make these purchases. The scammer gained access to her bank account and funds were shifted from her line of credit into her chequing account. Thinking money had been transferred into her account the victim went along with the scam. Once the authorization codes were supplied from the gift cards the scam was now complete.
“The scammer called back a few days later requesting the victim purchase an additional $6,000 worth of cards, however this time the victim declined and reported the matter to her bank.”
Police state that these gift card scams are very popular because they continue to work.
Here are some things you should know:
- Scammers will use different ways to trick people into providing them with the authorization codes. They may ask for the gift cards in exchange to pay taxes, bail money, debt collection or for physical items.
Remember, you can only use Google Play gift cards to make purchases like apps and music on Google Play.
Protect Yourself from Gift Card Scams
- Never use Google Play gift cards to pay for anything outside of Google Play
- Never share the code on the back of the gift card. Once you provide the code, the scammer can start making purchases. It will likely be spent before your contact Google, your bank or the police.
- The best thing to do if you receive an unsolicited call is to hang up the phone. If you have any doubt at all, call a trusted family member, your bank directly or the police and ask them about it.
- Don’t become a statistic. Fraud is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that will only stop when the scammers stop getting money, banking information or personal information.
For more information on fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca.