RCMP warning: scamming continues
Police are once again warning the public to be wary of anyone asking you to send or wire them money, as scam artists are very much at work in our area.
“Castlegar RCMP have released several media releases on this subject, however it appears that folks are still receiving these calls and are concerned because the scam artists have a lot of personal information on the person they call,” said RCMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew. “(We) received another complaint of this nature on Feb 1, (regarding) a con artist targeting an 83-year-old woman, posing as her grand-daughter desperately needing money. No money was sent on this occasion, however, as the victim called RCMP to report it.” She said this popular scam is called the “Emergency” or “Grandparent” scam.
“The caller has what seems like a lot of information when they call, such as names, ages, relationships to the victim, etc.,” Mathew said. “They normally call elderly people, and pretend to be the grandchild (or, in a few cases, the lawyer representing the grandchild, who may be in trouble with the law).”
She said the most typical con artist claims to be the grandchild of the person they are calling, and purports to be in “dire” need of money immediately, either from being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country, or bail money. They almost always tell the victim not to tell “dad” or “mom” so the caller doesn’t get in trouble. “The con artist requests money be sent via Money Gram or Western Union,” she said. “On many occasions, the victims don’t verify the story until after they have sent the money. “Variations of the scam do occur, such as the con artist being an old friend of the family, neighbor, etcetera, but generally they target the victim as a grandparent.”
In the past, the organization which deals with these frauds was called Phonebusters. They are now called the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and can be found on the Internet under this title. People experiencing this type of scam are encouraged to contact the Anti Fraud Centre via the internet or call 1-888-495-8501 and report it, as they collect the data and updated scams on an ongoing basis. “It is also important to educate one another about these scams, and ensure that friends and relatives don’t fall victim by sending money that will not be recovered,” she concluded.