Telephone and internet scams are presented by thieves with many different themes but in most circumstances there are common threads to the pitch. RCMP and a recent victim of fraud, share her story of a telephone solicitation which cost her thousands of dollars.
The scam was initiated in June of this year when a Chilliwack woman received a telephone call from an alleged holding company offering to buy her timeshare property in Mexico. A company spokesperson told the victim they represented a large corporate client and after agreeing on a purchase price referred the victim to a broker to close the transaction.
“Between June and the end of August the victim paid unexpected transfer fees, taxes, commissions, and bank trust fees, into a foreign bank account. The fees quickly began to approach the sale price of the property,” said Chilliwack RCMP officer Cst. Ralph Dolinsky.
Becoming suspicious the purchase was a fraud the victim contacted the RCMP. Police investigation confirmed neither company existed and were linked to fraudulent property transactions in the United States.
Internet fraud resulting in the theft of thousands of dollars from victims is a scenario which is becoming all too familiar to Michelle Wulff, Supervisor of Chilliwack Crime Prevention Services, who receives calls daily about scams that range from thieves presenting themselves as law enforcement agencies soliciting donations to utility companies threatening to cut services if immediate payment is not received for an outstanding bill.
“Protect yourself from being a victim of fraud. Never provide personal or banking information by phone, computer, or mail to solicitors. Use the 5 second rule before you hit the send button,” Wulff warns clients.
To confirm a Charitable Organization is legitimate police urge folks to visit the Canada Revenue Agency website at https://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charitiesandgiving/ .
“Thieves work internationally through the internet and do not leave finger prints to their crimes. Police warn everyone these criminals are convincing and often assertive. We urge anyone who receives any unexpected solicitation to speak to the police, a relative or trusted friend before providing personal information, entering into a contract or making a money transfer,” said Cpl. Mike Rail.
Police remind everyone who witnesses anything they believe to be suspicious in nature to contact their local RCMP or, should you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).