Phone scam prompts Kelowna woman to share her story

"People should be mindful of the information they give over the phone," said O'Donaghey. "Don't trust these individuals at face value."

Mary Brandt really thought her ship had come in for a few minutes last Friday after receiving an unexpected phone-call.

“Someone called and said they were from the clearinghouse and I’d won a car and $7 million,” the Kelowna woman said.

“The car was going to be delivered on a truck, but for me to get the $7 million I had to give my bank account information to them.”

She didn’t have her banking information on her, so she said she’d call back on Monday with all the details.

Before that happened, however, Brandt called her daughter who said that if she’d legitimately won something, it would be given to a her without any demand for her banking information and that the call was likely a scam.

“I’m a pensioner and I’m gullible,” Brandt said, adding that she called the Capital News about the incident because she didn’t want anyone in her position to take the caller up on the offer.

“It would have been nice to have that money for my children, but it would be unfair to lose all your earnings.”

When the number Brandt was given was called, someone who identified themselves as Jeff Bank said that the company he works for is based in New York and gives out billions of dollars every year.

He wouldn’t offer an explanation about how prizes of that magnitude were connected to the collection of an elderly woman’s banking information and the call ended quickly.

What Brandt experienced is not an unheard of, said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson with the Kelowna Mounties.

“People should be mindful of the information they give over the phone,” said O’Donaghey.  “Don’t trust these individuals at face value. Treat everything suspiciously.”

For more information O’Donaghey said  people can call the RCMP and the Canadian anti-fraud centre. It’s also a good idea to run the call past friends and family before putting any weight in it.

Not exercising caution, he said, could result in some serious trouble.

“I have seen people give up their full information or go through with sending money or cashing cheques,” he said. “Sometimes a bank will cover them, but for the most part they’re not covered.”