Hamilton Police warn residents of new banking scam involving gift cards

Published January 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

The Hamilton Police Service is warning the community, especially vulnerable seniors, to be aware of a “bank investigator scam.”

The service said Tuesday (Jan. 12) that the scam has “recently victimized residents of Hamilton.”

Police say suspects in this scam contacted individuals by phone pretending to be an investigator from a financial institution. They tell the target there is a problem with their account that requires “immediate action.”

The victims were instructed to go to their financial institution and withdraw cash and then told to purchase large amounts of gift cards or place money into a virtual currency ATM.

The targets were further directed to provide the numbers on the back of the gift cards to the “bank investigator.”

Hamilton Police provided the following advice:

  • Be alert when dealing with your financial matters
  • Always question urgent requests for money or gift cards
  • A financial institution will never ask you to pay for anything in gift cards or virtual currency
  • A financial institution will never use their clients in any internal investigation or quality control audit
  •  If you are in doubt, contact your financial institution from a number listed on a previous statement, never use the number provided by the caller

Hamilton Police are asking retailers to:

  • Continually look for signs someone is a potential victim
  • This includes the person being on their phone throughout the transaction
  • Set a dollar limit on the number of gift cards that can be sold without manager approval
  • Ask the person why they are buying such a large amount of gifts cards
  • Notify the police immediately if you suspect the person could be the victim of a scam
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