When an Ontario senior received a call alerting her that someone was using her name and banking information for illicit purposes thus began a series of money transfers amounting to a loss of $60,000—her life savings.
Katharina Muir of Etobicoke told CTV News that the caller, claiming to be from her bank, warned that a Trojan virus had compromised her laptop and that someone in Hong Kong was using her name and banking information to buy child porn.
It all started when a number supposedly belonging to Microsoft asked her to call for assistance. The person who answered claimed to be the manager of her bank’s fraud department and needed her help to get to the bottom of the problem.
Upon receiving instructions from the bogus caller, Muir transferred $10,000 from her bank account to a Hong Kong bank account. The plan was to catch the criminals when they collected the money. In an unexpected twist, the scammers informed her that the first attempt to capture the criminals had failed, and another $50,000 would have to be spent on catching the criminals.
When the funds were not returned to her bank account, she asked her bank when somebody would return the money. That’s when the officials at her branch informed her that she was, unfortunately, in a scam.
Prevention is key
Unfortunately, like most banks, Muir’s bank may not be able to help recover her lost money. Therefore, prevention is critical.
To begin with, evaluate the caller’s request for assistance. Have you ever been contacted by your bank about a technological issue? Is it your bank?
Second, if you don’t know the caller, ask to speak with someone you know. In many cases, we don’t always know familiar faces at our banks. Years ago, we knew the managers, but today, people are not remaining at the same branches.
Third, the adage, “If it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t,” is an excellent adage to follow. It requires that we question ourselves when we have these internal warnings.
We can help
Cyology Labs can answer your questions about protecting yourself, your family, and your business. Keeping one step ahead of nefarious threat agents is our role. You can also download our Fraudster app, where you can report suspicious activities at home, on your devices, or troubling actions sneaking around your business network.