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Canadians Lost $3.2M to ‘Bank Investigator Scam’ in 2019

March 2, 2020 2:11 PM | News

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Winnipeg police kicked off Fraud Prevention Month Monday with a new video educating the public on the “Bank Investigator Scam.”

The scam bilked Canadians out of more than $3.2 million in 2019, including $1 million lost in Manitoba.

The scam, which was the top fraud in the province last year, begins with a phone call telling of a suspicious transaction that occurred on the victim’s bank or credit card account.

The victim is told to hang up the phone and call the number on the back of their payment card to speak with an investigator, while the fraudster remains on the line and poses as a bank employee to help “investigate” the suspicious transaction.

The fraudster will then ask the victim for help, by requesting they withdraw money from their own account and transfer it elsewhere, such as to someone else’s account.

Police say financial institutions will never ask you to transfer funds to someone else’s account.

How to protect yourself

  1. Be wary of early morning calls from bank investigators. They will try to catch a victim who has just woken up and isn’t yet alert.
  2. Do not assume phone numbers appearing on a call display are accurate. Scammers often use call-spoofing technology to display a trusted number.
  3. Never provide personal or banking information to someone you don’t know.
  4. If you get a call in regards to a suspicious transaction, speak to a representative from your local branch in person.

Police say if you’ve fallen victim to the scam, they urge you to make a report with them and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the seventh annual Shred-It event will be held Thursday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Vital Centre (in the parking lot outside SilverCity) and CF Polo Park (in the south parking lot facing Portage Avenue).

The public can bring up to two boxes or bags of documents to be shredded for free on-site. New this year, Shred-It trucks will also be accepting electronic devices such as old hard drives, USB flash drives and other hardware containing confidential information.


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