Victoria, BC – VicPD’s Fraud Investigators are warning the public after two reports of a “lawyer scam” were received within 24 hours.
Both victims contacted officers after discovering that their attempts to assist friends were, in fact, frauds. In both cases, the victims were telephoned by a person claiming to be a lawyer representing a friend who had been involved in a serious collision in which a young girl had been killed. The fraud victims were directed to deposit money into the accounts of a “lawyer” representing the friend for bail. In both instances, the victims reported that the perpetrators of the frauds were convincing and authoritative.
In one instance, the victim realized that they had been scammed when they were able to get in touch with the friend in question and discovered no collision had occurred. In the other instance, the victim contacted a family member who was immediately suspicious and urged them to call police. Despite quick action it is unlikely that funds will be recovered.
The combined losses are over $20,000.
The “lawyer scam” is a variation of a telephone scam in which the fraudster creates a false scenario that preys on the good will of the potential victim. Here’s how to avoid falling victim to the lawyer scam:
- If someone claiming to represent a friend or family member calls to request funds for bail, insist on speaking to that friend or family member directly.
- Search for local news coverage of the serious or fatal collision.
- Speak to a trusted family member or friend about the circumstances before transferring funds.
- Speak to your banking representative before transferring funds.
- Speak to a police officer or call our non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654 before transferring funds.
For more information on how to avoid falling victim to fraud please visit https://vicpd.ca/fraud and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm.
These investigations remain ongoing.