Fraud Investigations Update

January 31, 2019

Partnership between West Vancouver Police and investigators in the United Kingdom has resulted in progress in two significant fraud investigations. 

WVP File #2019-369

On January 11, 2019, a 70-year-old West Vancouver resident reported being tricked into transferring $185,000 to an account with the Royal Bank of Scotland.  

The victim had been contacted by phone by suspects falsely claiming her credit card and accounts had been compromised and urging transfer of funds out of her accounts for “safekeeping”.

Two suspects claimed to be a bank fraud investigator and a Vancouver Police inspector.

Detectives with the West Vancouver Police Major Investigations Team immediately contacted police and bank authorities in the United Kingdom and steps were taken to freeze the transfer.

Investigators have now received confirmation that transferred funds have been returned to the victim.  Investigation to identify suspects is ongoing.

WVP File #2018-4221

Meantime, police in Bedfordshire, England, have announced arrest of a suspect in relation to a West Vancouver Police investigation opened in April of 2018.

A 27-year-old Bedford man was arrested January 21st on charges of Acquiring, using or possessing Criminal Property, and Concealing, disguising, converting, transferring or removing Criminal Property.  The accused has been ordered held in custody pending a court appearance February 25th.

Arrest of the suspect followed extensive cooperation between detectives with West Vancouver Police and the Bedfordshire Police, that began when a West Vancouver resident reported being defrauded of over $800,000.  

The victim after also being targeted by suspects falsely claiming to be bank fraud investigators and a Vancouver Police officer. Unfortunately, the victim made a number of transfers over several days to a UK bank before realizing they were being defrauded.  

Investigation to track and possibly recover transferred funds is ongoing.  The victim in this investigation wishes to remain anonymous.

Protect Yourself & Loved Ones - Prevent Fraud

Variations of the ‘Bank Inspector Fraud’ have been sadly prevalent for many years.  Suspects typically make first contact by telephone with false claims of fraudulent activity on personal credit cards or accounts, followed by further contact with suspects claiming to be bank investigators or police officers.  Victims are urged to transfer funds to a different financial institution for ‘safekeeping’ and funds are transferred from there and lost.  

West Vancouver Police warn residents not to complete any financial transfer or transaction requested by unknown persons through unsolicited phone calls, email or on-line messaging. 

West Vancouver Police urge residents to make financial inquiries in person at your bank and to avoid giving any personal information over the phone. Banks or financial institutions will not advise someone to transfer funds to external accounts for security reasons. 

If you become a victim of fraud, contact police immediately. People who suspect they have received a suspicious phone call should hang up.  Contact police from a different phone line if concern about a suspicious caller persists. 

Anyone involved in care for any vulnerable individuals is urged to review provisions in place to secure financial assets from fraud.