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Montreal police warn of phone scam targeting seniors

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Montreal police (SPVM) are warning against a fraud scheme targeting seniors following the arrest of eight individuals between the ages of 19 and 21 on June 16.

In a press release the SPVM says the arrests were made following a weeks-long investigation.

Searches were carried at two residences in Bois-des-Fillions and Terrebonne, as well as eight vehicles. Investigators seized numerous cell phones, bank cards, transaction records and uniforms as well as an air pistol.

Investigators analyzed 110 cases of fraud and observed a similar scheme being used each time.

Police said one person would pose as an employee of a financial institution and would make contact with a senior over the phone using an app that makes the name of the institution show up on call display.

Read more: Edmonton grandparents scammed out of $25K in recent fraud

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The victim was then told of a fraudulent transaction on their bank card and the urgent need to correct the situation.

According to police, the fake employee would then insist the victim to divulge their personal identification number. The victim was then instructed to put their bank card in an envelop for a postman to pick it up so it could be returned to the financial institution.

A uniformed accomplice would then head to the victim’s residence to retrieve the bank card.

Police allege the scammers would then rush to make ATM withdrawals or several purchases with the stolen cards.

Read more: ‘Totally ashamed’: Toronto senior loses $25K in popular ‘grandparent scam’

In ight of the recent events, the SPVM is reminding the public of the importance of being vigilant.

Some prevention tips to remember include never relying on what is written on call display and never giving out personal information over the phone.

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“Financial institutions never ask their customers to hand over bank cards or to reveal their personal identification number (PIN) to anyone,” the statement reads in French.

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Read more: Isolated seniors more vulnerable to elder mistreatment: Montreal senior advocates

The SPVM also encourages seniors to consult with a family member or trusted friend to validate information they’ve received or to contact their local police station when in doubt.

To report an incident of fraud, victims can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or Info-Crime Montreal at 514-393-1133.

In case of an emergency dial 9-1-1.

The individuals arrested in connection with the scheme were released from police custody on a promise to appear in court in September where they will be facing multiple charges.

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