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Local seniors lose thousands in fraud

A cross-country scam has left two widowed Edmonton seniors with shattered trust, extreme shame and drained bank accounts.

A cross-country scam has left two widowed Edmonton seniors with shattered trust, extreme shame and drained bank accounts.

In two separate early June incidents, two elderly women received a phone call from a man impersonating a bank security guard, who knew their names, and detailed banking information.

Both women were asked to withdraw thousands from the bank to help with an “investigation.”

The women complied and delivered the cash to a man near the bank, on the premise they’d be reimbursed the next day. Neither saw the cash or the crook again.

“They’re very embarrassed. It’s a generation of very trusting people —that’s what makes this very difficult,” said EPS Staff Sgt. Jim Peebles. “They don’t want their families to know, because it’s an age thing. They want their independence.”

The victims were duped out of a total of $6,300.

What’s most concerning for investigators is that scammers knew so much sensitive information about the women, Peebles said, adding police are looking at bank employees as suspects.

“They’re pensioners on tight budgets with fixed incomes. It has a huge impact on their lives,” Peebles said.

Police believe there are two men responsible for the scams, the same men responsible for similar crimes over the past two years in Victoria, Winnipeg, and Fredericton, N.B.

Investigators feel there may be other victims too embarrassed to come forward. They’re urging anyone who may have fallen victim to reveal themselves.

“We have such limited leads here in Edmonton,” Peebles said. “We’re following leads all across Canada and it’s unfortunate, but we’re stumped at this time.”

 
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