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Phishing overseas fraudster nets Cowichan woman in credit card scam

Cowichan Mounties are advising caution after fraudsters gained access to a Duncan resident’s credit card account via a phone scam.

The con started on Oct. 31 when the victim received a call from someone purporting to work for Microsoft Windows.

“At that time the caller told the victim there was a virus on her computer and that the victim needed to get rid of files and spyware,” Cpl. Kevin Day explained. “The caller had the victim go to her computer, possibly to gain remote access.”

The victim gave a variety of information to the fraudster, including credit card details, which she believed she was sharing to purchase a year of virus protection.

“It was subsequently learned that since the call there were various other transactions, including withdrawals, to the victim’s credit card account,” Day said. “It appears the call originated in India as it has been confirmed that the credit card transactions took place in India.”

Police were advised of the incident on Nov. 21, and say this particular scam scenario seems to be on the rise in Cowichan.

“The technique used by perpetrators of this sort of crime is called phishing,” Day explained. “Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity, such as a corporation.”

Police advise anyone who receives similar requests for information to be wary and exercise caution.

“One shouldn’t give information out to people over the phone or through electronic means without doing their homework and confirming that the entity requesting the information is valid,” Day added. “In this case, one can be assured that ‘Microsoft Windows’ will not call you personally to advise you that you have a virus on your computer system.”

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