While speaking with victims on the phone, scammers pretend to be from a fraud department, credit card company or other financial institution. They encourage victims to reach out to their banks to correct a problem, and can even go as far as asking the victim to look at the phone number on the back of their bank card. The victim hangs up, then the fraudster pretends to be a representative from the institution the victim meant to call; they may even play a dial tone to help the victim feel like they made a new call. Scammers then collect important information from the victim in order to compromise their bank account.
The victim doesn't realise that when they pressed the receiver down the call did not end, and they are still connected to the scammer. This scam takes advantage of the fact that in Canada there can be a delay between when we hang up and when the call actually disengages.
How to avoid this scam:
- Don't give out information, such as the name of your banking institution on incoming calls
- Hang up and wait at least 1 minute before making a new call. This will ensure that the first call clears from your line.
- If possible, make the next phone call on a different line, such as your cell phone
"In PEI, we regularly receive complaints that people have had their bank account compromised, and the victim does not know how this occurred. This is one type of scam that could help to explain how this happened." says Cst. Gavin Moore, Media Relations Officer for the Prince Edward Island RCMP. Some other methods scammers use is to request remote access to your computer. Always be cautious with any incoming calls, never allow them access to your computer.
If you believe that you have been a victim of a scam, please reach out to your local police of jurisdiction.