Listowel Banner / Minto Express editorial
We’re getting rather fed up with scammers taking advantage of decent citizens.
It seems every week there’s a new scam, a new victim and a new story.
Despite the warnings, victims are still falling prey to these widely-publicized schemes. These underhanded, slimeball individuals are targeting the lonely, the elderly and the otherwise vulnerable any way they can in order to deceive and steal.
There’s the scam involving a phone call from a so-called relative. The scammer pretends to be a grandchild, niece or nephew, claims to be in some sort of trouble and needs money immediately. Well-meaning victims neglect to verify the story with someone they know and trust. They go ahead and send the money only to find out they’ve been scammed and are now out thousands of dollars.
Another recent scam scare is the online dating scam. Scammers make contact through online dating sites and after building trust with someone, begin to ask for money. A Huron County victim experienced this first hand after connecting with someone online. The scammer pled financial difficulty and the victim forked over $32,000 of no doubt hard-earned money.
Below is one of the most recent scams reports from the OPP:
Recently the Wellington County Ontario Provincial Police received a report of fraud involving a male claiming to be the victim’s nephew who was in trouble and needed money immediately.
The victim sent approximately $3,000 and later discovered that it wasn’t his nephew that called and that he had been scammed.
This is a variation of an emergency scam. In most cases a grandparent, receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of the grandchildren. Callers state that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in an accident, or are having difficulty returning from a foreign country or need bail money.
Sometimes two people will call, one claiming to be the grandchild and the other claiming to be the lawyer or police officer. The “grandchild” will ask you questions, getting you to volunteer personal information. They will say they don’t want other family to know what has happened. You will be asked to wire money through a money transfer company. Often, victims don’t verify the story until the money has been sent.
In some cases, scammers pretend to be an old neighbour or friend of the family, but generally it is directed at grandparents.
• Scammers are counting on you to act quickly.
• Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust. Verify who you are speaking with.
• Do not give personal information to the caller.
• Ask questions to verify caller’s identity.
If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 and report the crime.
This has to stop. The public must take the above advice and guard against those who would lie, steal and cheat people. Share this advice with your family members and friends; it could prevent someone you love from becoming a victim of fraud.