Multiple occurrences of attempted fraud have taken place in Vermilion via international telephone calls. The people involved are warning area residents to be vigilant in future incoming phone conversations, even when they seem to be from trusted companies.
On January 17, “Lady 1” received a phone call at 8:17 a.m. from “Kenny Chang” who said that she was representing CIBC Customer Service, and that she had received a warning that a $600 cash advance had been made on her VISA card, and that it had been made by her husband, “Gentleman 2”.
With the couple thinking it was very suspicious, Chang gave her all kinds of information about the $600 transaction and said that she had better get her supervisor. Supervisor, “Alex” told the couple that it had been sent through Western Union to India. He asked the couple to hang up, instructing them that they would get a call back with a six digit code number. The couple was later called a third time to give the supervisor the code number, and was instructed to go to the Co-op (thinking that they had a Western Union), and to get there as soon as possible. They were pushed to do things right away being told, “it looks like another transaction is going through on your account.”
The couple was told that an act had been made in 1976 that any money over $500 that was transferred from one country to another would have to be reimbursed by Western Union in the amount of $1,600.
“They even told me the balance in my debit account. They knew everything about my VISA and debit accounts. They knew everything,” said Lady 1.
Instead, the couple went to the RCMP who instructed them to go to their bank immediately. The supervisor even called them back again, this time speaking to Gentleman 2 while they were still at the bank. Luckily, both their credit card had been changed and their debit account had been locked, and they let fraudulent speaker know that there was nothing more that they could do.
“It was scary. You are stunned and blown away while it is happening. I felt as if my identity had been compromised,” said Lady 1.
However, another member of the community had been contacted in the same way at 6:55 a.m. on January 18, and all involved are recommending for people to be cautious when answering calls.
“Don’t be rushed on the phone. Always check with your bank. Both the Vermilion RCMP and our bank were very good at helping us,” said the couple.