A victim of a sophisticated banking scam says his bank is now charging interest on a line of credit that a con artist took out.
James Mathelier says he received a call with the same caller-ID as his bank, the multi-billion dollar Bank of Montreal (BMO).
The scammer told the 63-year old Toronto man that fraudsters had accessed his accounts, and then asked for a verification code to supposedly confirm Mathelier’s identity.
“I knew I shouldn’t share codes over the phone, but he offered for me to call the bank back to continue this process. He said we had to act quickly because money was being withdrawn… I was panicking.”
After the Toronto man shared the code, someone made two $7,500 withdrawals and one $1,452 withdrawal in Canadian cash from his line of credit over the next day.
After contacting BMO and police, Mathelier says the bank selectively reimbursed only the $1,452 withdrawal, and is also charging $200 in monthly interest for the remaining $15,000 in debt that the scammers took out.
Mathelier, who is raising a toddler at home, says he was baffled as to why the bank would deny responsibility, but then also reimburse a small amount of the lost funds.
“It’s been impacting my mental health. I can barely sleep.”
Vanessa Iafolla, an anti-fraud consultant interviewed by Radio Canada said that BMO missed a “glaring red flag” when the two large withdrawals were made in consecutive days.
Although it issued a partial refund, BMO says Mathelier is not covered by the bank’s policies on fraud.
“Please note that this is a scam, which unfortunately is not covered by our fraud services; therefore, the Bank of Montreal is not responsible for the loss incurred.”