Bank Investigator Scam
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is receiving increased reporting from victims that have been misled by scammers portraying themselves as representatives of financial institutions, law enforcement or other officials. These scammers claim there is a suspicious charge on the victim’s credit card. The CAFC is seeing many variations of the scam. The following is a summary highlighting some of the commonalities.
Scammers may call victims on landlines in the early morning and claim a suspicious charge was done in the middle of the night on the victim’s credit card. They claim the charge is either from an online purchase, in store transaction or overseas transfer. They then state they require the victims’ credit card to cancel the transaction.
In some cases, victims are transferred to an alleged investigator. More commonly, they are requested to immediately call the number on the back of their credit card to verify the validity of the initial call. When victims believe they have hung up, the original caller, not having actually disconnected, redirects the victims to imposters. At this time, the victims are persuaded to transfer funds to an external bank account to safeguard their funds until the ‘investigation’ is complete. In this variation of the scam, the fraudsters are calling victims on landlines.
In other cases, scammers will gain access to the victim’s computer to continue the alleged ‘investigation.’ Victims are then shown a fraudulent transaction on their online banking account. The scammers indicate they want the victims’ help in an ongoing ‘investigation’ against the criminals who stole their money. The alleged bank investigator and/or law enforcement official indicates they will send the victim a deposit of funds, which the complainant will then send overseas as part of the ‘investigation’. When the deposit appears in the victim’s account the complainant sends the money to help in the ongoing investigation. It is not until the transfers are completed that the victim realizes funds were never deposited into their account.