Nanaimo RCMP is reminding people to be careful of scam text messages after a Nanaimo woman sent around $4,000 to a scammer posing as her son.
On Jan. 23, the unnamed woman had been texting with her son who lives in another province. Shortly after, she received a text from an unknown number that she believed to be her son.
The message began “I’m stressed, can you help some bills for me.” She responded asking why he was texting from another number and the scammer responded that he was having issues with his phone and needed help to buy a new one.
After several texts back and forth, the scammer provided an email address for a person by the name of Peter Olah and the business Simple Wealth and asked her to send two e-transfers totalling around $4,000.
The woman sent the money, then the next day the scammer asked for more money. At this point she contacted her son’s original phone number and realized she had been scammed.
She contacted her bank and has been reimbursed 50 per cent of the lost funds.
RCMP say the phone number she was texting with was 1-581-702-0162 and the email address she sent money to was [email protected].
“This scam could happen to anyone. The best course of action is to always, slow down, give it some thought, use Google services to assist if necessary and always verify who you are communicating before making any financial decisions,” said R/Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP in a news release.
These include don’t be afraid to say no, research to make sure the person you’re in contact with is the right person, don’t give out personal information, beware of upfront fees, protect your computer, be careful of who you’re sharing images with, protect your online accounts, and beware of spoofing.
Spoofing is when scammers mislead victims into believing they are communicating with a legitimate person, company or organization. This is done most commonly by spoofing the caller ID, email address or website of a legitimate organization.
The Anti-Fraud Centre says you should never assume that phone numbers appearing on the call display are accurate, hang up and make an outgoing call if contacted by a business, call the company or agency directly to confirm what you have been told in an incoming call or text, never click on links sent by text or email and verify the URL when visiting a website.