During the last week of January, police received three separate reports of Parksville Qualicum Beach area residents being defrauded.
Sgt. Shane Worth, Operations Support NCO for the Oceanside RCMP, said the first incident, reported to police on Jan. 25, involved an area resident who had lost thousands of dollars in a telephone scam where the resident believed they were dealing with a legitimate stockbroker from England. The fraudster was able to gain control of one of the resident’s bank accounts over the phone and withdrew thousands of dollars.
Worth said police investigations have concluded and the resident is currently working with their financial institution to recover the lost funds.
The second incident, reported on Jan. 27, involved an area resident who was also defrauded out of thousands of dollars in an online cryptocurrency scam.
Worth said the resident invested in cryptocurrency after he saw an online advertisement and made three separate transactions over several months. Soon after, the resident then saw a report on TV about the same cryptocurrency and attempted to withdraw their funds. The individual the resident had previously been in contact with reportedly stopped all communications and the incident is now regarded as fraud.
In the third incident, reported on Jan. 28, an area resident was defrauded out of allegedly hundreds of thousands of dollars over a five-month period to online dating. Worth said since investigators are still collecting information, there are not many details to further release at this time and could not comment on what websites were being used or how the fraudsters were directly involved with the resident.
“Beware of where you’re investing,” said Worth. “Check everything out and consult with someone you trust - a financial advisor, a bank or even trusted family members… If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”