An elderly woman from Oakville, Ontario, shared her distressing experience of losing a substantial amount of money earlier this year due to a scam wherein a fraudulent caller posed as an employee from her bank.
The incident, which occurred in January, involved the imposter claiming to be from CIBC, convincing the victim, Ellen Hickton, that her account had been compromised and that she needed to assist in an investigation.
Thousands of dollars tranferred via Bitcoin
Under the guise of cooperation, Hickton followed the caller’s instructions, which included withdrawing funds from her account, purchasing a considerable sum in gift cards, and transferring thousands of dollars into Bitcoin.
In total, she ended up sending $16,542 of her own money to the scammers, all the while believing she was aiding the bank’s investigation.
Hickton’s daughter, Kendra, expressed her concern over the incident, emphasizing its potential life-altering consequences for her mother, who is a senior citizen.
According to CIBC, these types of scams are increasingly prevalent, with criminals exploiting victims’ trust and willingness to assist.
The bank spokesperson reiterated that legitimate financial institutions would never request clients to engage in a fraud investigation or transfer funds via cryptocurrencies, gift cards, or electronic money transfers.
To prevent falling victim to such scams, individuals are advised not to rush into decisions, and if they receive suspicious calls, they should contact their bank directly using official contact information.
Experts highlight that older adults are often targeted due to their trusting nature, making them vulnerable to scams.
David Burnes, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, noted that these scams are challenging to recover from, emphasizing the importance of educating seniors about the signs of fraudulent communications.