Police issue scam warning after woman loses $200K in 3 months

An Edmonton police vehicle is seen in this file photo. (Sean Amato/CTV News Edmonton)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) advised residents Friday to have a talk about scams with their loved ones after a woman lost more than $200,000 in three months.

In a news release, police said the scam started in December when a woman was contacted by phone by someone posing as a fraud investigator at her bank.

The "investigator" convinced the woman her bank account had been compromised and her financial advisor was a scammer. The man said she couldn't tell her family or police as it would interfere with his investigation.

The "investigator" eventually convinced her to purchase Google Play Cards and give him the security codes to "catch the scammer".

EPS said she was under the impression she was using the bank's money to purchase the cards.

EPS also said an employee at a grocery store ended up contacting them after the woman went to purchase $2,000 worth of gift cards.

After speaking with the victim and her family, officers found out the woman was being coached into what to say and do, and had also created additional bank accounts, sent wire transfers, and had someone impersonate her to her financial advisor to cash all her investments.

Police said the woman lost more than $245,000.

"If it wasn't for the employee's concern and taking that extra step, this woman would likely still be losing money," said Det. Jason Lapointe with the EPS economic crimes section. "We encourage families and friends to talk openly about scams and the common signs of scams with one another." 

EPS included a reminder that scammers prey on emotions and said any unsolicited communication by phone or email requesting Bitcoin or gift cards should be treated as a scam.