Gibsons woman loses thousands in bogus sting operation

A Gibsons woman was scammed for thousands of dollars in what Sunshine Coast RCMP are calling “an elaborate variation on the popular ‘mystery shopper’ fraud.”

Police say the scam started after the resident received a phone call from someone pretending to represent the Amazon online shopping website.

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The scammer “attempted to obviously defraud the resident but as expected, the resident recognized this and did not fall for the scam,” police said.

“However, shortly after, the resident received a phone call from a male who said he was an RCMP member with the Cyber Crime Unit.”

The bogus cop said police were trying to bust the online shopping scammer and wondered if the resident would be willing to assist them in “catching one of the RCMP’s most wanted cyber-criminals.”

The resident agreed to use her own money in the supposed sting operation after the bogus officer told her she would be reimbursed double her money. She provided remote access to her computer, enabling the fake cop to see her financial information. False screen shots appeared to display the promised payments in her account.

“In a two-week span, the resident wired several large instalments of money as per the ‘officer’s’ instructions,” police said. “It was only after the ‘officer’ cut off all communications that the resident grew suspicious, checked with her bank directly, and realized she was out a five-figure amount and that no monies had ever been deposited in her bank.

“Unfortunately, it is unlikely the resident will recover her monies.”

To learn more about these types of scams and how to recognize the red flags, please visit sites such as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.

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