An elderly West Vancouver resident is out $800,000 after falling victim to what police describe as a costly new version of the long running ‘bank inspector’ fraud scheme in a series of telephone calls.
Police said the victim began receiving phone calls earlier this year from individuals claiming to report fraudulent activity on a personal credit card.
“After a series of calls, the victim was then urged to call a second person identified as a bank fraud investigator, who then placed the victim into contact with a third person claiming to be a deputy chief of the Vancouver Police,” said West Vancouver Police (WVPD) in a statement.
The scammers told the victim that an investigation was underway into individuals at the victim’s personal bank and that personal assets should be moved to a bank in another country for safekeeping.
“Sadly, the victim transferred over $800,000 before realizing they had been defrauded,” police said. Attempts by the victim’s financial institution to reverse the transfers have been unsuccessful and the incident has resulted in the loss of most of the victim’s life savings.
WVPD said an investigation is now underway and detectives with the West Vancouver Police Major Investigations Team have been in contact with Toronto Police Services, where five other victims have been reportedly targeted for losses of over 5.1 Million dollars in similar fraud schemes.
In light of this latest incident, WVPD are once again reminding people not to complete any financial transfer or transaction requested by unknown persons through unsolicited phone calls, email, or online messaging.
Banks or financial institutions will never advise someone to transfer funds to external accounts for security reasons, they added.
People who suspect they have received a questionable phone call should hang up and can call police if concerns about a suspicious caller persist.
Police also urge anyone involved in the caretaking of any vulnerable individuals to review provisions in place to secure financial assets from fraud.