Durham regional police are warning the public about a sophisticated fraud targeting older adults after two victims in the Whitby area lost thousands of dollars.
According to police, the scammers contact victims over the phone to sell them anti-virus software packages for their computers.
The software is actually malware that steals data, including sensitive information such as passwords, from infected computers.
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Both victims were initially contacted over the summer. The fraudsters called the victims back a few months later saying there was an issue and reimbursed them the cost of the service.
Then, however, police say the victims were told they were overpaid, and the scammers asked that the outstanding difference be wired back to the company.
“At this point the victim returns the money, however, the suspect has transferred the money from the victim’s Visa or line of credit to their account without their knowledge,” Durham police said.
The two victims, both seniors who came forward in September, lost over $32,000, according to police.
Ashling Murphy, a spokesperson for Durham regional police, said no arrests have been made in either case.
She said seniors and their families and caregivers need to be aware of the scam to prevent others from becoming victims.
The scam involves the fraudsters gaining the trust of the victims by appearing to be “fair and honest.”
Police say members of the public can protect themselves from fraud by refusing to provide personal information through the web or via email, keeping login information private, and doing their homework and seeking advice from knowledgeable people before making a purchase.
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