TRURO - A local senior barely escaped becoming the victim of a banking scam after deciding at the last minute not to turn over $4,000 in cash as per fraudulent instructions.
And the Truro Police Service is warning other seniors not to get caught up in what they are calling a "bank investigator scam."
Truro Police inspector Rob Hearn said that on Friday, a local senior citizen received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as a Mr. Robertson or Robinson, a representative of the Scotia Bank, who was investigating an internal theft within the bank and required assistance.
He instructed the senior to attend her branch and withdraw $4,000 and then meet a Mr. Munro, also a Scotia Bank representative, at the Truro Mall. The suspect further instructed the senior to meet Munro in the entrance to the Truro mall closest to the Dollarama store and that she was to wait for him between the doors and not enter the mall.
The man said she only had a half-hour window of opportunity because they were using special computer equipment to help identify the person who was supposedly committing the internal theft.
The woman followed the instructions to a point but changed her mind as she approached the mall and instead contacted the police.
Hearn said the scam is similar to others across the country where the fraudster(s) contact seniors by phone saying they require their assistance to catch a bank employee who has been stealing money.
The person is instructed to go to their bank and make a cash withdrawal, usually in $100 bills, for amounts in the $5,000 range. The person is told not to tell the bank teller what they are doing because the teller may be involved. The senior is instructed to place the cash in an envelope and meet the "investigator" in a nearby parking lot where the cash is turned over.
If successful the "investigator" attempts a further request for funds to ensure the investigation is a success.
Hearn said people involved pretend to represent various different financial institutions and he issued a reminder that it is not common practice for financial institutions to make such phone calls.
He said no one should ever provide personal information over the telephone to anyone and not to respond to any such solicitations.
Anyone who receives this type of call is asked to report it to police at 902-895-5351 or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.