Online scams have conned Victorians out of thousands of dollars in the last few days as fraudsters use every trick in the book, according to police.
They stole a total of $5,400 in four different cases and unfortunately in most cases, their victims won’t be getting any compensation.
The ‘Google Play’ scam
In the first case on Feb. 12, a victim received a phone call from someone telling them their computer was infected with spam.
The scammer convinced the victim to share their screen, then to buy $500 in Google Play Store gift cards that they then stole information from.
“Often funds are transferred by Google Play, Steam, Apple Store and other online gift cards,” police said in a statement. “The information is often resold on online market places for crypto currencies.”
Police said anyone who asks for information from the back of a gift card is a “strong warning” that it is a fraud attempt.
Senior out $900 from wire fraud
Two days later, another victim – a senior – called police to report they received a series of calls.
The person calling told the victim they needed a wire transfer for a line of credit, prompting the senior to send $900.
“In this sophisticated scam, the fraudster also compromised the senior’s personal information and bank accounts,” police said, adding it could’ve been worse had the senior not called them.
Unsolicited requests for financial services should be met with caution, authorities said. If you’re unsure about a call, hang up and call back your bank on your own.
Also, “If someone tells you that you have to pay money via wire transfer for local financial services, it’s a scam,” police said.
The ‘Winnings Tax’ scam
The next two scams happened on Feb. 16. In the first one, a victim was called and told they had won money and needed to pay tax to claim their winnings.
The victim then sent $1,400 to the caller via wire transfer before realizing it was fake.
“In Canada, you do not have to pay money for lottery or other winnings,” police said.
A cruel funeral expenses scam
The final scam was one that took advantage of its victims’ hearstrings, according to police.
The victim met the fraudster on a dating app called “Finally,” and sparked what they thought was a genuine relationship.
Along the way, the scammer told the victim a family member died and he needed $2,700 to help cover funeral costs.
The victim transferred the money to the man. That’s when he deleted his profile on the app and ceased all contact.
“Scammers are utilizing dating apps and internet-based phone services together to connect with people looking to build trusted, loving relationships and take advantage of them for financial gain,” police said. “This type of fraud both costs the victim money and heartbreak.”
Police say these scams can be particularly challenging because perpetrators will spend time convincing you a relationship is real.
“If someone you’ve met online, but never in person, asks you for money, beware – it’s likely a scam,” police said.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of fraud should call Victoria police at 250-995-7654 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.