When their neighbour was scammed out of $50K, apartment residents got organized to help

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A group of neighbours in a London apartment building is banding together to help a senior who fell victim to a bank scam and lost tens of thousands of dollars. 

Kim Stevens said she got a call from someone in early November claiming to be from her bank and requesting personal information. Several weeks later, the 69-year old said she realized $58,000 was missing from her accounts.

“My life has changed forever,” said Stevens, who notes she’s felt the psychological stress of the crime. “I’ve lost my personal identity.”

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CAFC), which collects data on identity theft and fraud, said more than 22,000 people were victims of scams in the first six months of 2023. More than $530-million had been lost to fraud in 2022. 

The impact of the crime on Stevens has touched others who live in the apartment complex at 80 and 82 Ridout Street. 

“We’re a very close knit group here at the Gartshore,” said Sally Stenabaugh. “We all knew what Kim was going through and we all wanted to help and we didn’t know how.”

The group of neighbours decided to organize a fundraiser with a silent auction, bake sale and a donation box in the common room of their building for Jan 28.

Stevens said she broke down crying when she discovered the community plan to help her get back on her feet.

“Not that it totally surprised me – the support – but the fact that the caring community we have came together around this was overwhelming,” said Stevens.

She said London police are investigating the incident after she reported it on Nov. 23. to both the authorities and to her bank. 

According to the CAFC, only a small fraction of money stolen is ever recovered. In 2022, one per cent of funds or $2.8-million was recovered. 

Although the fundraiser may not entirely repair the financial and emotional damage Stevens has gone through, Stenabaugh is hopeful the fundraiser might be a start.

“We think it’ll probably be pretty much a full day event. We’re hoping it’ll be fun. We’re hoping that everybody that will come out will enjoy themselves.”

This article was originally sourced from www.CBCNews.ca