Phone scammers trick N.S. student out of part of her late mother's inheritance
HALIFAX -- A 23-year-old university student -- recently scammed out of her late mother's inheritance -- is sharing her story, in part to make sure what happened to her doesn't happen to anyone else.
Madison Faulkner says her mother was her "best friend and role model."
Faulkner's mother Tina died from cancer in March of last year and she left her daughter a $30,000 inheritance.
Earlier this month, with the money safely put away in bank account, the phone rang.
The person calling said he was with the RCMP and told her that her identity was stolen.
Faulkner was told to take money out of two nearby banks.
"I withdrew the money, walked back out, and sat in the car," she said. She was then instructed to take the cash and deposit it into a "police-approved secure bitcoin machine" located at a nearby store on the Bedford highway.
Eventually she became suspicious and texted a family friend who told her to hang up.
They called the police who said there is nothing they can do.
"'You're not getting your money back,'" they told her.
Ten thousand dollars was gone.
Though they wouldn't comment on camera, Halifax Regional Police confirm they are investigating the matter.
"I've never felt so stupid," Faulkner said. "I was so blindsided by the fact that I was going to lose money that was left for me. I didn't think I was just focussed on keeping the money safe."
Security expert David Shipley says phone scams and online fraud are impacting more Canadians than ever before.
"We lost $96 million as Canadians to various scams," Shipley says.
He adds people need to be aware that they could be targeted.
"The RCMP does not ask you to put money in bitcoin machines," he said. "The RCMP or CRA do not ask you to take your money and purchase gift cards."
Shipley also says Faulkner should not feel stupid.
She's a 23-year-old university student she was grieving the loss of her mother and she was vulnerable.
"We have to work on financial literacy," he said. "And we have to let people know that when you are grieving, the criminals will come."
Faulker's cousin has started a GoFundMe page to help her recoup some of the money.
That has raised more than $6,000. Madison says it hasn't erased the pain of what she's gone through, but she does say the generosity of strangers at this time has partially restored her faith in human nature.