Montreal woman claims she was scammed for $15,000

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Franca Sparapani still can’t bear to look at her bank statements from last summer.

In July there is a withdrawal of $5,000 from her checking account and another $10,000 billed to her credit card.

The 52-year-old woman says she was the victim of a phone scam.

“I lost so much sleep over this. I was so emotional,” she told Global News.

Sparapani received a call from an impersonator claiming to work for Amazon telling her that her Prime account was overcharged and that the company wanted to issue her a reimbursement.

But the fake employee told Sparapani that she needed to provide some private banking details to get the money.

After complying with the request, Sparapani received a call from the Bank of Montreal claiming that she may have been the victim of a phone scam and needed to file a police report.

Sparapani says she did that but also made three requests with BMO to be reimbursed but all of them were denied.

“If it wasn’t for my mother, I would be bankrupt. I would have had to declare bankruptcy. I told them that,” Sparapani said.

She has since filed a complaint with the BMO Ombudsman’s Office hoping her fourth attempt will be successful.

“I’m asking you for full reimbursement of 15,000. I made a mistake and they said, ‘mistakes cost money’,” Sparapani explained.

In an email to Global News, BMO writes: “given the priority we place on customer confidentiality, we cannot disclose any details of this situation. Please note, however, that we reviewed the situation and communicated our position to the customer on September 23, 2022.”

Sparapani is not alone being victimized by phone or online scams.

Chris Lynam, the Director General of the RCMP National Cybercrime Coordination unit testified on Oct 3rd before a House of Commons Standing Committee that phone and online scams reached a record level in 2021.

“$379 Million in fraud losses from victims, a historic year,” Lynam testified.

In a statement to Global News, an Amazon Canada spokesperson writes: “scammers that attempt to impersonate Amazon put our customers and our brand at risk. We encourage customers to report suspected scams to us so that we can protect their accounts and refer bad actors to law enforcement.”

Amazon also offers some tips including: “Amazon will not ask for payment over phone or email. Amazon will not call and ask you to make a payment off of our website (ex. bank transfer).”

Sparapani is still hoping she will eventually be reimbursed and hopes other people will always verify and double check before providing private information to anyone seeking personal details.

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