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Crofton seniors warn of phone scam

Fraudster convincing about suspicious activity on couple’s bank account

A Crofton couple is warning others after being scammed out of $8,550 in a bank fraud.

Seniors Marlaine and Danny Williams say they received a phone call from someone claiming to be from their bank’s fraud department. It all seemed legitimate to Marlaine, who formerly worked in the banking business herself and knows the industry.

“Danny answered the phone,” she said. “They asked for me. The fraudster informed me of his name, the bank and he said there were 12 attempts to take money out of my account and one attempt at a foreign exchange. He gave me a case number and I think that’s what sealed it for me.

“The conversation continued on and unfortunately the one thing I did, was to confirm the last four digits of the debit card number he gave me.”

Marlaine gave him a one-time verification code that allowed the fraudster access to the account. The Williams’ later found out the caller was bogus.

“It was reported to police,” Danny said of the incident. “It’s very prevalent.”

The Williams’ also approached their bank manager, who confirmed the fraud through their fraud department but did not return the money to them.

“While speaking with the bank’s real fraud department, we got to the point, ‘did I give him the verification code?’” Marlaine indicated. “That was basically the end of the conversation.”

“They said ‘we can’t do anything for you,’” added Danny.

“We had no way to confirm. He didn’t produce any credentials.”

The Williams’ contend it’s still fraud and Marlaine was tricked into giving up the code.

“Like most seniors, we can’t afford to lose this kind of money,” she noted. “If our story can keep just one household from falling for the same scam, then going public is worth it.

“We just felt if we don’t speak out then somebody else is going to be in the same position. It just doesn’t seem fair this happens to people.”

Marlaine and Danny say if people don’t have caller ID, then get it and look at it because every bank and credit union have their name and phone number on the caller ID. And they advise never giving out any personal information.

“If you are ever in that position, hang up and go and find the (debit) card you’re talking about and call the number on the back of the card,” said Marlaine. “Then you know you’re talking to the right people.”

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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