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Concerned citizen helps foil bank fraud scam: Huron County OPP

A "scam alert" graphic, provided by OPP. (Source: Huron County OPP) A "scam alert" graphic, provided by OPP. (Source: Huron County OPP)
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A concerned citizen is being credited by police for foiling an elaborate bank fraud scam involving prepaid Visa credit cards that targeted an elderly Huron County resident earlier this month.

According to a release from Huron County OPP, on March 13 an employee of a local business who expressed concern for an elderly area resident contacted police.

Police attended the elderly person’s residence and explained the concerns that someone may be defrauding them. The resident then told police they were just on the phone with a woman who had been arranging for them to take a taxi to two grocery stores to buy two prepaid Visa gift cards of $1,000 each.

The victim then explained that they had been receiving multiple calls over the previous week from a woman claiming to work for a well-known bank head office in Toronto.

The scammer claimed they had been having issues with bank employees giving out clients’ personal information, and told the victim that the bank would transfer $3,000 into their bank account and requested they purchase prepaid Visa cards in order to help track and catch the suspects.

The scammer then requested the victim’s full name, date of birth and bank account information, which OPP said the victim provided.

Afterwards police said the scammer convinced the victim to take a cab to Goderich and purchase two prepaid Visa gift cards of $1,000 each, to which the victim complied. The scammer then requested they provide the credit card numbers and codes off the back, which the victim provided.

While officers were with the victim at their residence, the scammer then called the victim again. Police listened to the scammer on speakerphone, where the scammer instructed the victim to go to a grocery store in Grand Bend and then another grocery store in Goderich.

The victim was instructed to refrain from telling the cab driver what she was doing, other than purchasing groceries, and was told not to disclose anything of their conversation to other people.

If the grocery store cashier asked the victim if she was being scammed, police said the scammer instructed the victim to reply, “No, the cards are for their grandchildren.”

Police then escorted the victim to her bank. It was discovered the scammer had created an online bank account for the victim and transferred $3,000 from the victim’s line of credit to the victim’s chequing account, making it appear as if they deposited the $3,000 of the banks’ money for the victim for the victim to use in their account.

“As a result of the incident, the victim did lose $2,000, however, thanks to the person who contacted the police, the victim would have lost at least another $3,000, if not more had police not intervened,” OPP said. 

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