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Castlegar resident falls prey to scam artist; police issue warning

 

"On March 12, a Castlegar resident received a call from a male claiming to be her grandson in Calgary," said Castlegar RCMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew. "This male knew her grandson's name, and sounded like him. The male provided a story about how he had been arrested and needed money to bail him out of jail."

The victim in this matter, Mathew explained in a press release, was quite diligent in questioning the male, and even asked to speak with a witness. The male caller put another male on the phone, who claimed to be her grandson's lawyer. The callers even had an address and phone number of where they were. ( These appear to be bogus).The victim was asked to send a moneygram to a Calgary post office, which she did.

"The next day, the victim called her grandson for an update as to his status, and was told that he had never been in Calgary and had not asked her for the bail money," Mathew said. "This guy is pretty sophisticated. He had asnwers ready for everything she said - and she asked way more questions than most victims. These guys are really smooth talkers."

The press release went on to say that, while police are continuing to investigate this matter, it is a very difficult process to solve with the fake names, numbers, and addresses provided by the scammers, and recovery of the stolen money seems unlikely at this point.

Mathew went on to encourage people to check out a website called 'Phonebusters', in which many of these scams are detailed at length.

"What they said about this scam is almost verbatim to what (the perpetrators) said to her (this victim)," she said. "I wish people would go to this site and read this stuff - it's so eye-opening."

To that end, Mathew offered the follwing information via press release:

"This particular scam is one of the top scams. It is known as the "emergency scam" or "Grandparent scam". As of October 2009, 88 scam artists were successful in getting people to send money, to the tune of over $300,000, to their 'loved ones' who were in jail or some kind of trouble.

"A few examples of current phone scams include: Pet ads: Scam artist places ad and photo in the paper of puppy for sale, and asks for a 'deposit'. You send the deposit and when you call or go to pick up the puppy, none of the seller's information is legitimate.

"Another example is vacations or charities that are quite persistent with you in trying to get you to send money up front. Always ask for something in writing - never give your credit card number over the phone or be pressured into sending someone money.

"Everyone is urged to log onto the 'Phonebusters' website and read about the various scams. It is very eye opening and will make you think twice about ever sending money to any one up front.

"If you are a victim of phone scam, please contact your local RCMP (250-365-7721) and report it, and also report it to Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501