Scam session promotes safety

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
April 15th, 2010

Castlegar will play host, on May 13, to a free, interactive session helping residents deal with the looming spectre of frauds and scams, according to Community Response Network (CRN) coordinator Sandi McCreight.

“Scams are everywhere. Phone. Email. Mail.

“What are the top scams? How do I report a fraud or scam? What do I do if I think I’ve been scammed? How do I find out if an investment is legitimate? What should I do about my mail when on holidays? What can I do to protect myself from being scammed? How do I protect myself from securities fraud and inappropriate investments?”

She said locals are identifying the issue as a key one in this region.

“We’ve gotten lots of feedback from people in the community,” she said, adding the problem has hit close to home for her as well.

“Just this Christmas, scammers got a hold of my email account and wrote to everyone in my address book, saying I was in England on a family crisis and that all of my money, identification and passport had been stolen, so I needed them to send money.”

So convinced were many of McCreight’s associates that, when she showed up at a conference in Vancouver, they were surprised to see her there.

“They all thought I was in England,” she said.

After alerting everyone to the issue to ensure no one sent money, McCreight began trying to regain access to her own account.

“They (the scammers) changed all the passwords,” she said. “It took weeks and weeks to get back into my account.”

The purpose of this anecdote, she said, is to make it clear that this sort of thing can, and does, happen to virtually anyone.

“I think it happens way more than we think, because people are embarrassed they got sucked in,” she said. “It’s easy to, though …they (the scammers) are really, really good at what they do.”

So in her role as CRN coordinator, McCreight applied for and got a grant from the provincial CRN organization to do some work around community safety and well-being, then contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the BC Securities Commission, asking them to come and share their knowledge with Castlegar.

“It’s absolutely free, and I’ll even feed you …I’ll have coffee and snacks and desserts.”

She said the informative and interactive discussion will take place at the Community Forum on 13 Avenue (beside City Hall) on May 13 from 6 to 9 p.m..
Preregistration is not required. For more information, contact Sandi McCreight at castlegarcrn@hotmail.com or 250-365-7678.







Categories: General