Advisors with Canadian clients who reside out of country, or have limited activity on their accounts, should take heed, after a Bank of Montreal customer claims he lost an $87,500 inheritance, after the bank allegedly wired the money to an overseas scammer, reported the CBC’s Go Public on Monday.
According to the CBC
, BMO customer, Bruce Taylor – a Canadian engineering consultant who resides in Texas – says the account, which held his ‘emergency funds,’ was allegedly emptied, while Taylor was undergoing open heart surgery in Houston two years ago.
Taylor’s inheritance was in term deposits until July 2012, at which time the investments matured and were transferred to a savings account, which Taylor says he didn’t use.
According to an RCMP investigation that began last summer, Taylor’s BMO investment advisor received an initial email from an imposter – which included spelling and grammatical errors – requesting a wire transfer of funds be sent to Taylor’s cousin in August 2012. Faxes, requesting transfers and including Taylor's account number and electronic signatures were subsequently received by his BMO branch in Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.
A branch staff member asked the individual via email to confirm a phone number, at which time the imposter gave a California number, instead of one from Texas. Although the wire transfer confirmations say “confirmed by phone,” Taylor claims the staff member may have called the imposter, but did not ask the standard security questions, reports the CBC. Police say the staff member says there was a bad phone connection. (continued.)