Police re-iterate warning about phone scams

  • Feb. 3, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Although Castlegar RCMP have warned the public numerous times about phone scams, it appears people are still receiving these calls, Sgt. Laurel Mathew said.

People “are concerned beause the scam artists have a lot of personal information on the person they call,” she said.

On Feb. 1, a woman called an 83 year-old Castlegar resident, posing as her granddaughter desperately seeking money. No money was sent but the incident was reported to the Castlegar RCMP.

Police are calling this 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.”

Most often, the caller says the reason they need money is from being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country or bail money, and almost always tell the victim not to tell their parents because they would be angry.

The scammer then requests money be sent via Western Union or Money Gram.

Mathew said people experiencing this scam are asked to contact the Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501 as they collect the data and update the cases 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 to sending money via these ways that will not be recovered,” Mathew said.