Nanaimo woman to be reimbursed $2,000 lost in Facebook gift card scam — RCMP warn residents of online fraud

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Nanaimo RCMP is warning the public about online scammers using platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

“Scams come in many ways and through a variety of social media platforms. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is an excellent resource to stay up to date on any type of scam being perpetuated in our fair city and across Canada at any given time,” said Const. Gary O’Brien.

Facebook gift card scam

A Nanaimo woman received a notification from someone posing as a Facebook friend, who told her if she purchased gift cards at Walmart, she would receive grant money from the Lions Club International Giving Society, according to RCMP.

The woman went to Walmart and purchased $2,000 worth of gift cards using several credit cards. Police said she then learned her friend’s Facebook account was hacked and the message sent to her was a scam. 

She reported the incident to police and RCMP said her banking institution will reimburse her for the lost money.

Fake tech support

A Nanaimo woman received a pop-up notification on her laptop stating her computer’s IP address was compromised and she needed to call tech support for assistance. 

She spoke on the phone for two hours with someone claiming to be with System Input Services, RCMP said.

“She was told her computer contained viruses and to remove the threats, she needed to provide her driver’s license and credit card information. Soon after, a charge of just under $300 was added to her credit card and only then did she realize it was a scam,” reads a media release from Nanaimo RCMP. 

The woman has since canceled her credit card and contacted credit reporting agencies Equifax and Trans Union, as well as her bank, police said.

WhatsApp Bitcoin scam

A Nanaimo man received a message about an investment opportunity from an old friend on the messaging platform WhatsApp.

RCMP said the man began to put money into the investment and was soon told he must pay a service fee of almost $5,000, which he intended to do. After already providing his banking information, the man became suspicious when he was told he needed to pay an exchange rate, according to police.

Because financial transactions using Bitcoin are untraceable, the man was unable to recover any of his losses, according to RCMP.

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