A Williams Lake woman said she was a victim of a phone scam where the caller ID showed the call was from TELUS. (File image)

A Williams Lake woman said she was a victim of a phone scam where the caller ID showed the call was from TELUS. (File image)

Williams Lake woman scammed by caller pretending to be from TELUS

The 82-year-old realized it was a scam when the caller asked for her banking information

A Williams Lake senior is warning others after she was the victim of a scam where the caller claimed to be from TELUS.

The 82-year-old woman said she recently bought a new cell phone and has TELUS as her mobility provider.

As she had not received a bill to date, when her cell phone rang last week and the caller ID showed it was from TELUS, she assumed it was legitimate.

After the caller offered a 50 per cent deal as a TELUS promotion, the senior ended up giving the caller her social insurance number and credit card number.

She did not clue in that it was a scam until the caller asked for her bank account information.

“I’m not stupid and I know about these things, but it was the fact the caller display showed TELUS that fooled me.”

Lena Chen, media spokesperson for TELUS told the Tribune, in an email response, unfortunately many Canadians have experienced phishing calls, a type of scam where thieves, impersonating the government or businesses with large customer bases like telecoms or banks, attempt to trick someone into sharing sensitive personal or banking information.

To combat these scams, the company launched TELUS Call Control in 2020, a free feature available to all TELUS customers that blocks autodialed calls.

The feature requires unknown callers to listen to a brief message and manually respond with a one-digit code. The majority of nuisance calls, including scams, are generated by computer-dialers that enable spammers to dial many numbers at once and can be blocked by Call Control.

“We offer a number of tips and tools to help our customers and all Canadians protect themselves on our website and through TELUS Wise, a free educational program that focuses on Internet and smartphone safety and security,” she noted.

Here are some tips for customers to protect themselves against fraudsters Chen provided:

Never volunteer personal or sensitive information like banking or credit card account numbers, passwords, or your social insurance number

If in doubt, hang up the phone and call the business the caller claimed to be with directly to be absolutely certain you are speaking with a trusted customer service representative.

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

If you receive a suspicious email or text message, do not respond or click on any links or open attachments.

Look for obvious signs that an email is a fraud, such as the wrong brand colours, poor grammar, or a suspicious email sender.

Chen added it’s possible that when two parties are on the phone and only one hangs up, the line can stay active for up to 10 seconds. To be safe, wait for at least 10 seconds after hanging up before picking up the phone again.

Another Williams Lake residents contacted the Tribune Friday, Jan. 14 to warn of another possible scammer.

She’d listed a buffet for sale on an internet site and someone contacted her through messenger.

The local resident became suspicious when the person inquiring said she currently was not in town and would not be able to meet her to pick up the buffet because she was busy planning her daughter’s wedding.

She went on to say she was in the process of issuing the seller a check (spelled the American way), would include an extra $100 to hold it for her.

The inquirer asked for the seller’s full physical address including state and Zip code, as well as the asking price and her cell phone number.

The local resident thought it was strange and worth alerting others about.

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