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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Victoria parks staffer turns compost made from organics collected in the parks. Piles of this steaming, nutrient-rich stuff will be handed out between April 12-18. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Victoria shovels free home-made compost out to gardeners

Ideal for prepping food gardens, the compost, mulch and wood chips will be at city parks for pick up

New programs and services aimed at helping the unhoused find shelter or housing in Victoria, and to take advantage of support services of various kinds, could be funded if a City of Victoria grant application is successful. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria seeks $3M to $4M in grant funds to enhance community services for unhoused population

Various supports, services for unhoused population part of broad-based funding application

Victoria Police Department seized a replica firearm during an early morning call to the 100-block of Gorge Road East on April 11. (VicPD handout)
Victoria police seize replica firearm in early Sunday morning call

Officers called to temporary housing facility in 100-block of Gorge Road East

Road improvements in Sooke are nearing completion . (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
Sooke road work nears completion

Projects part of $5.7 million in improvements

Vaisakhi normally would have volunteers like these women (in Surrey from a past year) preparing food ahead of the festival to be given out to the hundreds of thousands of spectactors. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria Sikhs observe Vaisakhi virtually, but find a way to give out food

Food and taking care of those in need is a big part of Sikh teachings

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
Vancouver Island team helps make $368 million three-tonne cocaine seizure

12 members from 19 Wing Comox involved in Op Caribbe

Killer whales surface near Sebastion Beach in Lantzville on Sunday, April 11. (Photos courtesy Ella Smiley)
Chainsaw and friends near the beach thrill orca watchers in Lantzville

Jagged-finned orca named Chainsaw and 17 others spent hours off Sebastion Beach this weekend

Nootka Sound RCMP and DFO Conservation and Protection Officers seized this 30 foot vessel, fishing gear and equipment as well as Chinook salmon, salmon roe, rock fish and ling cod after an investigation on Sept. 11. A judge in Campbell River on February hit the owner and his accomplices with significant fines, a ban on holding fishing licences and loss of equpment, including the boat’s motor and trolling motor. RCMP photo
Washington State trio’s fisheries violations the worst veteran officer has seen in 20 years

Judge bans three men from fishing or holding a fishing licence anywhere in Canada

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

Most Read