Nanaimo woman loses $4,500 — RCMP warn public of scammers

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Nanaimo RCMP is warning the public of scammers who use email, social media, phone and regular mail to steal money. Some of the scams reported to police in Nanaimo include:

Computer fraud 

A woman called RCMP on April 8 to report being scammed for $4,500. The victim said she received an alert on her computer advising her to call a number. When she called she was told someone was buying pornography on her computer and that she was being hacked. In order to stop it, she needed to purchase Google gift cards. The victim was told if anyone asked what the cards were needed for, she was to say they were for her grandchildren and they were very important. The victim, who is in her late 70’s, spent most of the day driving around buying the cards. Once they were purchased, she called the number back and provided the code on the back of each card. The phone number provided was later determined to be a digital text line with no means of determining where it originated.

Bitcoin scam 

Nanaimo RCMP received a complaint from a supervisor of a local fast food restaurant on May 1. He said he received a call claiming to be head office, indicating the restaurant was required to purchase a machine for the business. The caller said a health inspector would be forced to close the franchise if it was not purchased. The victim was told to pay $1,100 and payment had to be made in bitcoin. The machine was never delivered.

Grandson scam 

A man received a phone call on April 29 from a man claiming to be a lawyer representing his grandson. The caller said his grandson was in a car accident, was in jail and needed $6,000 immediately. The victim was provided with a bank account at two local banks and $3,000 was transferred from each account.

Email scam 

A woman received an email on April 30 from a known friend, who requested she purchase a $100 Amazon gift card on her behalf, then forward it as a gift to an unknown email address. After sending the gift, the victim learned her friend’s email account had been hacked.

Fake gold scam 

A Nanaimo man, working at a hotdog stand in north Nanaimo, was approached by a couple on April 3, who asked for money because they lost their wallet. The couple were well-dressed and had two small children in their relatively new vehicle, according to RCMP. They gave the victim several pieces of gold jewelry and told him they would phone in a couple of days to confirm repayment of the money. The victim later found out the address they provided was fake and the phone number given was incomplete. Both suspects were of Middle Eastern descent. The female was approximately 6 ft. tall, dressed in black and was wearing a red and white head scarf. The man was 5 ft. 8, stocky and was wearing a grey suite. He also showed a piece of ID from Ontario.

RCMP said there are a number of basic things you can do to protect your accounts and money, including: calling someone to discuss before making any decisions; not letting your heart guide you into making a financial decision and changing passwords frequently.

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