A terrifying encounter with a telemarketing scam has left a Campbell River woman shaken, but, thankfully, not out of pocket.
Even though Pat O’Handley knew about scams and knew the warnings not to give them anything, she was unprepared for how aggressive the phone scammer she encountered on Tuesday was.
“What doesn’t get across is how frightening these people are,” O’Handley said.
The scam currently making the round is an aggressive person calls you up and says he is a “special investigator with the Federal Audit Department” and they are going to arrest you within an hour and if that comes to pass you face thousands of dollars in fines and 11 years in jail, O’Handley said. The scam artist says you will be charged with fraud and tax evasion.
They also threaten to “go public” with their complaint against you and will seize your bank account if you don’t pay, in this case, $4,986.
O’Handley said she told the caller that she hasn’t ever received any notification of this to which the caller replied that a letter was sent but you were not home to receive it. O’Handley said that whatever she said to the caller, he had an answer to counteract her.
“They scare you so badly you say, ‘Okay, what do I have to do,” O’Handley said.
She was told to take the $4,986 in cash from her bank and go to the bank to deposit it.
“He gave me an account number and a name,” O’Handley said.
She went to the bank and deposited the money. All the while she’s doing this, the scammer is on the cell phone with her.
Once that money was deposited, the caller then said she had to pay another $7,000 in another bank but it would be refunded in 24 hours.
By this time, O’Handley is starting to resist and, in fact, went to the office of her financial advisor, Garat Financial Group, for help. With the scammer still on O’Handley’s cell phone, the Garat Financial people called the RCMP.
She hung up on the scammer but he called her back five times afterwards. Meanwhile, O’Handley went back to the bank and got her money back. O’Handley has gone back to the banks involved and told them about the scam.
The call to the RCMP wasn’t helpful because she was told that an RCMP officer was not immediately available but one would get back to her later.
O’Handley is willing to tell her story so that it will serve as a warning to everybody in town. The 67-year-old said seniors are most often the target of these scams but this one apparently will go after anyone.
O’Handley said the call is from a 1-800 number and the voice on the phone was heavily accented. O’Handley said she has the account numbers and the names for the account she had to deposit to.
Even though she’s been involved in Citizens on Patrol and Loss Prevention Society, she still gave in to this aggressive marketer.
O’Handley is concerned somebody less able to stand up to the scammer might get completely robbed. A day later, she was still shaking.
“I still get a good wrench when I think about it,” she said. “I am glad I got my money back.”
If you receive a call from the supposed Canada Revenue, you should hang up immediately and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. For an example of the type of phone scam, visit the real Canada Revenue Agency’s website.
The site also has a CBC recording of an actual scam that sounds very similar to what O’Handley experienced.