An Ontario senior says he collapsed after losing $ 60,000 in a banking scam that began when a virus appeared on his laptop computer screen.
“I can’t shut off, I can’t turn it off, the woman’s voice keeps saying‘ you’re infected, don’t touch your computer and call this number, ’” Katharina Muir of Etobicoke said.
Muir was working on his computer last month when the virus caused his laptop to freeze and had a phone number claiming to be a Microsoft partner he needed to call for help.
Muir called the number, but the person who responded claimed he was the manager of his bank’s fraud department and said they were investigating criminal activity at his local branch and needed his help.
“They said you were compromised by this Trojan virus and there was someone in Hong Kong who used your name and banking information to buy child pornography and I was scared,” Muir said.
The man on the phone told Muir to initially transfer $ 10,000 from his bank account to a Hong Kong bank account so they could catch the criminals when they went to collect the money.
The scammers told him that the first attempt to catch the criminals had failed and he had to transfer another $ 50,000.
Muir said that because he thought he was dealing with officers from his bank trying to stop a child pornography ring, he went ahead and transferred the money.
When the funds were not returned to his bank account, he went to his local bank branch to ask when his money would be returned.
When officials at his local Scotiabank branch told him he had been caught in a scam.
“They told Mrs. Muir that we could do nothing for you. This is your fault. You signed it, ”Muir said.
Muir was with Scotiabank. Katie Raskina, Scotiabank’s media relations manager and issue management told CTV News Toronto in a statement. “Scotiabank cannot comment on specific customer matters for privacy reasons. Fraud is a constant risk to the financial services and other industries and an ever-growing threat here in Canada and all over the world.
“It is in our interest to be diligent against fraud to ensure that we maintain the trust and confidence of our employees and customers; to that end we work closely with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC), Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), law enforcement and counterparts of other financial institutions to ensure that we do everything we can to protect our customers. .
“We encourage all individuals to practice safe banking practices and do their part to help identify, rule out, and report fraud. For resources and tips, please visit www.scotiabank.com/security.
Muir said that at the time her computer was hacked and she was dealing with scammers the first anniversary of her husband’s death and she was in an emotional state since they had been married for 43 years.
“My husband was so devastated that this happened to me” Muir said. “I know that if he was still here it would never happen.”
Scotiabank is continuing their investigation into the incident and Muir is still hopeful that his $ 60,000 will somehow be returned as it is money he spent on repairing his house.
“I have to return the money. I can’t live without it, ”Muir said.
If you have a “pop up” message on your computer telling you to call someone don’t do it, and don’t get directions from anyone telling you to transfer funds from your bank account.
If in doubt talk to someone you trust and contact your bank directly.