My Scam Experience

My scam experience

Disclaimer: Names and locations have been changed to protect the identity of this student. Yasmin, like many other international students in Canada, received a fraudulent call from someone claiming to be from the Government of Canada. Here she shares her experience.

It was a Monday afternoon, and after a busy day in classes, I decided to cook my usual meal prep. Call after call, veggie after veggie, I was multi-tasking, making appointments and cooking my dinner.

Until I received this one call.

I answered and was greeted with an automatic message. I pressed 1, for English and a man greeted me. He said his name is Mark Brown, but he sounded like he was from overseas. "Mark," told me to write down his name and his badge ID number. He told me I was involved with a bank fraud scandal that was directly linked to a human trafficking case in Ontario.

I have never been to, let alone visited, Ontario. He pushed, played with my stress and fear of getting caught by the police and Mark then threatened to deport me.

Fear slowly surged inside of me. I just extended my study permit, and I have no family living in Canada. There is no way I want to be deported! I repeatedly told him that I am only an international student, have never been to Ontario, and hadn't touched my bank account throughout the spring and summer.

I repeatedly told him, "this is a scam, I don't believe you, and I won't pursue anything." Mark told me to give him the local police number to ensure; he is not a scammer. I gave him the EPS number, and someone answered from the other end.

Oh no, I thought, so this isn't a scam after all?

The policeman told me that yes, I am involved in the bank fraud case, and I need to pursue immediate legal action. I was under too much stress, a strong smell of my raw ingredients wafted in from the kitchen, I panicked, so I eventually agreed with them. Then it became a three-way conversation between me, the "police," and the "government agents."

They told me to withdraw $8000 and put it into the BIT Machine. I asked the bank if I can take out $8000 in cash. They told me I was only allowed to withdraw $3000. Bless them to forbid me from doing so! I did everything the scammer told me to do when I arrived in the store that had a BIT Machine, and I noticed an Edmonton Police Service sticker on the door. That sticker was the last warning, but fear clouded my judgement.

Mark repeatedly told me "do not tell anyone about this case because anyone can be a culprit," I said yes, hung up the phone and called my dad. After telling him, in detail, all of what happened, he figured I just got scammed and told me to go to the police. I went to the police with my roommate. We were the last people to visit the headquarters right before it closed. It turns out it was, indeed, a scam.

When I returned to my dorm, I cried myself to sleep. I cried for two nights and finally moved on with my life. The people that know me told me, "this happens to all sorts of people" and that I am not alone. I am not stupid or gullible to fall victim to this scam.

Learn more on scams:

Top COVID-19 Scams to Look Out For

Email & Phishing Scams

The CRA is Not Calling You — Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud


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