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Guelph police warn of new scam

Scam uses online forums to gain access to people's bank accounts

Guelph police are warning the public after seeing an increase in a new type of phishing scam.

The scam targets victims posting an item for sale on an online forum such as Facebook Marketplace or Kjiji. The scammer responds to the ad offering to pay a deposit via e-transfer and the seller subsequently receives a text or e-mail with what appears to be a link to deposit the e-transfer.

When the victim clicks the link, it opens a website asking them to select which financial institution they want to use to deposit the funds, followed by a request that they input their bank account number and password. The scammers then use these credentials to log into the victim’s online bank account, change the password, and drain the victim’s accounts.

By the time the victim realizes what has transpired, the victim has lost access to their accounts. Banks will typically freeze the accounts when they are advised of the account takeover, however it’s usually too late and money has already been transferred out of the accounts.

One way to protect yourself from this scam is to sign up for direct deposit so legitimate e-transfers are automatically deposited into your account without the need to enter account information.

The Guelph Police Service strongly encourages the public to never share personal or financial details unless you are certain the request is legitimate.