We never want to fall victim to a scam, but with fraudsters using more sophisticated tactics it can be harder to tell when a scam is right in front of you.
The undercover investigation scam has become more successful in recent years according to Kevin Purkiss, vice president, fraud management at RBC. Here’s how the scam works:
A criminal, posing as a legitimate source, like law enforcement or your bank, reaches out to you to get your help – and your money – for a fake criminal investigation.
While there are many variations of the scam, it often involves the fraudster saying they are investigating an employee at a bank branch. They claim they need you to withdraw a large sum of money from your own account so that it can be used as evidence in the investigation. The scam will often happen over multiple days and you are told not to tell anyone you are involved. The scammer promises your money will be returned after the investigation is complete, but once it’s handed over it’s gone.
“If you are ever contacted to take part in an undercover fraud investigation, it’s probably a scam,” says Purkiss. “A legitimate business, government agency and your bank will never ask you to participate in an undercover operation to prevent fraud.”
Find more fraud prevention tips at cba.ca/phony-bank-inspector-scam