Peterborough police are warning residents about a new scam after a local elderly woman was defrauded of $13,600.
On March 7, 2018, a woman in her 80s received a phone call from a man who claimed he was from her bank and that $4,600 was missing from her account. The man claimed the bank was conducting an internal investigation as they believed an employee was stealing money.
The man advised the woman to her bank and withdraw $4,600 from her account so they could track the “thief”. He cautioned her not to mention to the teller or anyone else at the bank why she was withdrawing the money because he didn’t want the internal investigation to be compromised. The man assured her the withdrawal wouldn’t show up on her account, as it was for only for the purpose of the investigation.
The man then told the woman to bring the money to a restaurant parking lot where a “bank auditor” would approach her and take the money. The victim went to her bank, withdrew the money, and went to the parking lot where an unknown male met her stating he was the investigator from the bank.
After handing over the cash, the woman returned to her home. She later received a second phone call from the man who had phoned her earlier, stating they were close to solving the “theft” but needed her to go back to the bank and take out an additional $4,200, bring the money with her to the same parking lot, and hand over the money to a “bank officer”. He reassured the victim that the money would be deposited back into her account after the investigation was completed.
The women went back to the same bank, withdrew the $4,200, and went to the same parking lot where she handed over the cash.
After returning home, she then received a third phone call from the male stating they were close to solving the investigation but that one more transaction needed to be made. The woman followed the man’s instructions and this time attended a different bank, withdrawing $4,800, and going to a a different parking lot where she handed over the money.
The woman returned home and received a fourth phone call from the man, asking her to go back to the bank the following day to withdraw more money. After receiving the last phone call, the woman finally became suspicious and contacted one of her bank branches, where the bank manager told her she was a victim of fraud.
The woman has described the man to whom she gave the money as Caucasian, medium build, 5’10”, gray hair, clean shaven, approximately 50 years old and “professional looking.” She did not see the man enter a vehicle.
Police are reminding residents to always check with a trusted friend or relative if they receive a phone call requesting cash or personal or banking information. If a caller tells you not to contact your bank, you should always contact your bank.
Police also ask employees at stores, businesses, and local banks to gently question clients who are making a large purchase or withdrawal.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.stopcrimehere.ca.
To report a fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll free at 1-888-495-8501. If you have been a victim of fraud, meaning you have provided personal information orbanking information or lost money to a scam, contact the Peterborough Police Service at 705-876-1122 or report a non-emergency crime at crimereporting.peterboroughpolice.ca.