Beware of a telephone scam, advises Trail resident Jacqueline May.
May received a call last week from a male saying, “Auntie I was at a bar and some guy picked a fight with me.” The caller continued with the ploy, telling May that he was charged with assault and to get out of jail, she needed to send him $2,000. After May questioned the caller for details, such as his name and relation to her, he hung up.
“I live in Trail and yes this is the first time I have been scammed,” she told the Trail Times. “I just hope other people know to ask questions before sending money.”
Sgt. Rob Hawton, of the Trail and Greater District RCMP, confirmed that the telephone scam has become widespread. The caller claims to be a relative and to get out of jail, the hospital or to buy a ticket home, requests money be sent electronically.
“They are con artists who usually target the elderly,” he said, adding, “do not give out any personal information and do not send money.”
Nelson RCMP issued a public warning to West Kootenay residents in June after two elderly local residents were victimized out of $4,000. Cpl Micheal Stefani reminded people not to act on any request or share any personal information with a person or business over the phone.
Stefani said that on occasion, a second person, claiming to be the distant relative’s “lawyer,” joins the conversation to provide instructions about sending money via electronic transfer, and leaves a number to call when the transaction is complete.
The scam “lawyer” insists that the victim not tell anyone (especially police) that money was sent.
To report a fraud, contact your local police and call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
For further information about the latest common fraud scam, visit the centre’s website at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.