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Nanaimo victims scammed out of cash by online con artists

RCMP advise public about fake tech support, gift card and Bitcoin scams
Nanaimo RCMP warn about cases of cyber fraud that scammed victims out of thousands of dollars in the past three weeks. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo RCMP are reporting substantial losses suffered by people who fell prey to recent online fraud schemes.

Throughout May, fake tech support, gift card and Bitcoin scams have made their way through Nanaimo, bilking more than $7,000 from victims who realized too late they’d been scammed.

A Nanaimo woman lost hundreds of dollars after she received a pop-up spam notification on her laptop May 22 warning that her computer’s IP address had been compromised, and for her to call tech support for help. Her phone call lead to a two-hour discussion with someone who claimed to be with System Input Services, according to an RCMP press release.

The victim was told her computer contained viruses and to remove the threats she had to provide her driver’s licence and credit card information.

A charge of just under $300 was soon added to her credit card and it was only then she realized it was a scam and cancelled her card and contacted her financial institution.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo man scammed after lending money and receiving fake gold jewelry in return

On May 14, a Nanaimo woman received a notification from a Facebook friend that if she purchased gift cards at Walmart she would receive grant money from the Lions Club International Giving Society. The woman went to Walmart and used several credit cards to buy a total of $2,000 gift cards, but then learned that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked and she’d been scammed. She reported the incident to police and her banking institution will be reimbursing her for the money lost, the release noted.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo woman falls for online prize scam, RCMP warn others

A Nanaimo man received a message May 6 about a possible investment opportunity from an old friend through the WhatsApp social media platform.

The victim started to put money into the investment and was about to pay a $5,000 service fee when he was asked for banking information and “only then did he start to get leery of the transaction,” said RCMP.

He wasn’t able to recoup any of his losses as police say the Bitcoin transactions were “untraceable.”

“Scams come in many ways and through a variety of social media platforms,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the press release. “The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is an excellent resource to stay up to date on any type of scam being perpetuated.”

To learn more from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, click here.

READ ALSO: ‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

READ ALSO: Nanaimo senior fooled by ‘grandson scam,’ even after warning from bank teller
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