The Nanaimo RCMP investigated two different kinds of scams in one day yesterday.
On Wednesday, Feb. 2, one Nanaimo resident reported being the victim of a credit card scam, while another Nanaimo resident reported that someone had attempted to scam him over his computer. Nanaimo RCMP provided details about the two scams in a press release.
“It can happen to any of us,” said Const. Sherri Wade, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson, in the release. “We are busy, we click on a link that we shouldn’t, we give personal information to people who are skilled in tricking us.”
In the first incident, the complainant reported receiving a phone call from someone pretending to work with a credit card investigation unit. The victim was told his MasterCard had been compromised and he needed to purchase pre-paid credit cards to help catch the person or persons responsible. The man complied and provided the card numbers, expiry dates and security codes.
The victim told police that staff at the business where he was purchasing the cards warned him that he might be the target of a scam. His friends advised him to call police, which he did, but it was too late as the culprit had already accessed the money on the pre-paid credit cards.
The second incident was an internet scam. A Nanaimo resident reported that his computer froze and an alert purporting to be from Microsoft appeared on the screen, followed by a warning that someone was attempting to steal money out of his bank accounts. A phone number for a help line appeared on the screen, so victim called and spoke with someone who said they were fixing the problem, but instead gained remote access to the computer.
The scammer posing as the technician told the victim that he could appease the hackers by purchasing gift cards for them. The owner realized he was being scammed and turned off his computer and went to his bank to ensure his accounts were secure. The fraudster had managed to change passwords, but no money had been withdrawn from his accounts.
Nanaimo RCMP also warned businesses that on Jan. 20, fraudulent Flexiti cards were used at an electronics store to make multiple purchases of Apple MacBook Pro laptop computers.
RCMP advises= people to visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website, which provides up-to-date information on recent scams and ways people can protect themselves. For more information, visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.