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CAFC Bulletin: Bank Investigator Scam


The Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre (CAFC) is receiving increased reporting from victims that have been misled by scammers portraying themselves as representatives of financial institutions, law enforcement or other officials. These scammers claim there is a suspicious charge on the victim’s credit card. The CAFC is seeing many variations of the scam. The following is a summary highlighting some of the commonalities.

Scammers may call victims on landlines in the early morning and claim a suspicious charge was done in the middle of the night on the victim’s credit card. They claim the charge is either from an online purchase, in store transaction or overseas transfer. They then state they require the victims’ credit card to cancelthe transaction.
In some cases, victims are transferred to an alleged investigator. More commonly, they are requested to immediately call the number on the back of their credit card to verify the validity of the initial call.

When victims believe they have hung up, the original caller, not having actually disconnected, redirects the victims to imposters. At this time, the victims are persuaded to transfer funds to an external bank account to safeguard their funds until the ‘investigation’ is complete. In this variation of the scam, the fraudsters are calling victims on landlines.

In other cases, scammers will gain access to the victim’s computer to continue the alleged ‘investigation.’ Victims are then shown a fraudulent transaction on their online banking account. The scammers indicate they want the victims' help in an ongoing ‘investigation’ against the criminals who stole their money. The  alleged bank investigator and/or law enforcement official indicates they will send the victim a deposit of funds, which the complainant will then send overseas as part of the ‘investigation’. When the deposit appears in the victim’s account the complainant sends the money to help in the ongoing investigation. It is not until the transfers are completed that the victim realizes funds were never deposited into their account.

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself

  • Calls to landlines from scammers in the ‘Bank Investigator’ scam tend to happen in the early morning, oftentimes when a victim is still sleeping and not yet alert. Be alert when dealing with financial matters
  • Financial institutions will never request transferring funds to an external account for security reasons
  • Criminals use “Call‐Spoofing” to mislead victims. Do not assume that phone numbers appearing on call display are accurate. This call‐spoofing technology is easily available.
  • Never provide remote access to your computer systems to unknown callers.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti‐Fraud at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at

This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified,copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.