The Prince Edward County (PEC) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding residents to remain cautious of any requests for money or information they may receive.
This comes, the OPP said, after officers received a report of an individual losing more than $15,000 to a “bank investigator fraud.” The victim in that case reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be with their bank’s fraud department, police detailed.
“The investigator claimed that the suspect’s identity had been compromised and that the suspect was an internal bank employee,” the PEC OPP said in a press release on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.
“The suspect then directed the victim to deposit over $15,000 into a Bitcoin Teller Machine.”
The OPP stressed that banks, police agencies, or government agencies “will never ask for cryptocurrency.”
This incident of fraud follows a number of different types of scams that have become prevalent in Ontario, and specifically in the County. On Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, the PEC OPP reported on a “fake lottery scam,” which had seen scammers boldly attend the homes of victims. The following week, the PEC OPP reported on another scheme where fraudsters claimed to be representatives from the fraud department of the victim’s bank. In that case, the victim lost $17,000 before an alert pharmacy employee intervened when the victim returned to the pharmacy to deposit further funds into a cryptocurrency ATM – the employee suspected correctly that the individual attempting to make a second such deposit was being victimized in a scam. And that’s not the first time a vigilant employee has prevented a customer from being further defrauded this year; on February 28, 2023, an employee at a bank in Picton prevented an elderly individual from withdrawing $10,000 which was intended for someone purporting to be the individual’s relative in need of funds for bail – that person was, in fact, a fraudster in an increasingly problematic scheme often referred to as the “grandparent scam.”
With an ever-increasing number of scam cases targeting those in PEC – particularly senior citizens – the OPP is reminding everyone to remain alert. Police offered the following tips to avoid being victimized through a scam:
- Pump the brakes and ask more questions
- Ask for credentials
- Listen to the inner voice that says ‘this doesn’t sound right’
- Be wary of any requests for cash or cryptocurrency
- Be cautious of the sense of urgency
- Never provide remote computer access
- Do not assume phone numbers appearing on your call display are accurate
- Visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website for more information on ongoing scams and how to avoid falling victim to them; residents can also report scams to the Anti-Fraud Centre
“Remember: legitimate agencies will never pressure you for information over the phone or demand money immediately,” the OPP said.