Police are warning the public to be aware of hang-up delay fraud. (Black Press file photo)

Police are warning the public to be aware of hang-up delay fraud. (Black Press file photo)

B.C. couple stands to lose $500k from hang-up delay phone scam

Police advise the public not to transfer funds to unknown individuals over phone or email

West Vancouver Police are warning the public to be aware after a couple risks losing $500K to a phone scam where fraudsters posed as bank staff and police.

Cst. Kevin Goodmurphy said the scam was a hang-up delay fraud, where callers believe they are speaking with multiple people, but it’s actually the fraudsters on the other end of the line while the victim makes calls without disconnecting.

On Oct. 6, the victims received a call to their home phone from an individual claiming to be a police officer investigating fraudulent activity on their debit card.

The victim was then asked to contact their bank using the number listed on the back of their card where they spoke with someone who identified himself as a fraud investigator. The victim was given a “reference number” and told not to share it with anyone, including family, friends, or other bank staff as it could “compromise” the investigation.

The victim was then told to call 9-1-1 and to ask for Inspector Mark Osbourne, which they did.

More “calls” were made before the victim set up a wire transfer of $500,000.00 after being convinced that their money was not safe at their bank.

The victim did grow suspicious and contact the police before speaking to their real bank immediately.

There is no confirmation as to whether the funds were successfully transferred.

West Vancouver Police are investigating the incident and advise the public to never transfer money based on requests from unknown people over the phone, email, or text messges.

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