(ESSEX COUNTY, ON) – On Friday, June 18, 2021, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Essex County Detachment investigated a fraud after being called to an Essex County address.
The victim was contacted by a suspect posing to be a TD Bank Security employee who was claiming there were fraudulent transactions on his account where Google Play cards had been purchased. As agreed upon by involved parties, the suspect would transfer funds described as “Investigation Funds” into the victim’s account and the victim was in turn was given a list of specific stores throughout Windsor-Essex to purchase gift cards. The victim was directed to withdraw cash from his bank, attend the stores and purchase the maximum amount for Google Play cards. The victim was directed that if he was questioned by employees, he was instructed to tell them the cards are for family members.
The victim was attempting to purchase the cards at one store when an employee refused to sell the victim gift cards as they suspected fraud but police were never contacted.
In this case, the victim was defrauded of over $30,000 cash that was spent on Google Play Cards he purchased throughout Windsor-Essex County.
Although suspects seem to be targeting the elderly, anyone can be targeted as so many transactions are completed via phone or computer.
The OPP are encouraging businesses, retirement homes and long term care facilities, financial institutions, social services and family members to have an open conversation about fraud and the fact that seniors are often targeted.
Unfortunately, there are many who make a living from preying on honest and compassionate individuals. Don’t fall victim to their scams, be leery if you notice any of the following:
· Urgency — The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
· Fear — The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.” This causes the victim to feeling guilty that something may happen if they don’t do as they are being asked.
· Secrecy — The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “We are working to repair your account. You don’t need to contact the company.”
· Request for Money Transfer or Gift Cards — Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company to the criminals, but gift cards are now the more frequently used, easy-to-liquidate alternative to cash.
Numerous fraud awareness videos have been posted on the Ontario Provincial Police on Facebook and Twitter page. We encourage you to visit the page and share the information for public awareness.
Anyone interested in more information on fraud can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501 or check online at http://www.antifraudcentre.ca/.
The Competition Bureau of Canada’s “Little Black Book of Scams” can be found here: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html.
RECOGNIZE IT, REJECT IT AND REPORT IT!!
June 24, 2021
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay