Beware: scammers making wake-up calls in Cowichan

Cowichan Valley resident Maureen Gold has a hard time sleeping, so she was understandably annoyed when, at 2 a.m., shortly after she had managed to nod off, the phone rang.

She was even more annoyed by what came next.

The man on the other end of the line told her that someone had used her Visa credit card to buy something on eBay for $300.

"I don’t do eBay," she said. Worried, she went and got her card, to make sure it was still in her possession. She informed the man on the phone that she had it.

Then he asked if she could tell him the numbers on the back.

Wide awake now, Gold realized what was going on.

"So I said, in so many words, I’m not giving you anything off my credit card. I used a few expletives, but anyway, then he hung up on me," she said.

In the morning, Gold called Visa who told her the company would never call after 8 p.m.

They would also never ask for a credit card number, because they already have it. "The scammers are out," Gold said. "Visa did tell me that with the holidays it’s more rampant than ever."

The display on her phone said the telephone number was unavailable.

Gold said she is making a complaint to the RCMP about the attempt to steal her credit card number, and wants everyone in the Cowichan Valley to be on alert about this scam.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP reported two other scams to be onthe lookout for as well.

Cpl. Jon Stuart said that the first involved a victim who got a phone call from someone claiming to be from a computer software company, and that their computer had been hacked because their licence with the company had expired. The victim transferred money to the company to renew the licence before realizing it was a scam. The second scam involved a victim being hired through an online advertisement to do a variety of tasks.

The person was given a cheque and told they could keep the leftover amount, which would equate to about $25 per hour. The victim was told to wire money overseas, then buy two cell phones and send them to the United States.

"The victim began to suspect it was scam before sending the phones, but unfortunately the funds had already been sent overseas," Stuart said. For more information on scams and frauds go to www.antifraud centre.ca