An elderly couple in Petawawa, Ont. lost more than $100,000 in an elaborate scam that took place over six months, police say.
It started last August when the couple received a call from someone posing as a law enforcement official who told them their credit card had been compromised and used fraudulently.
That turned out to be true; there were false charges on the card. Police say it’s possible whether the scammer made those purchases before calling.
“The scammers could have somehow obtained that credit card number, put on a couple of purchases, and then followed up with a phone call,” OPP Const. Shawn Peever said.
“It certainly adds believability to the scammers when they make that initial call and say ,’You know, your credit card’s been compromised.’”
The scammer told the couple their bank accounts were at risk and their money needed to be moved for safekeeping.
What followed was a six-month ordeal. Police say the victims allowed the scammer access to their computer and online banking accounts. The couple also sent thousands of dollars in cash and electronically to locations in Canada, Europe and India.
The victims also sent personal information to the suspect, including void cheques and a photo of a driver’s licence.
In February, the victims asked for their money back. When it wasn’t returned, they realized they had been scammed and reported it to police.
Upper Ottawa Valley OPP are reminding anyone who’s been defrauded or contacted by a scammer to reach out to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or local police.
They are also reminding people to be wary of unsolicited calls from people purporting to be from financial institutions, credit card companies or law enforcement agencies, especially ones asking for money.