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Elderly N.L. women targeted in phone scam

Telephone scammers often target seniors with fake distress calls from a so-called relative.
Telephone scammers often target seniors with fake distress calls from a so-called relative. - 123RF Stock Photo

Police issue warning after several women in Bay Roberts area got calls

Updated story: An old phone scam has reared its head again and targeted at least three people in the Bay Roberts area within the past month, most recently on Friday.

Bay Roberts RCMP Const. Bryan Vaughan said all of the scam attempts he is currently aware of happened to elderly women.

One elderly woman, who did not want her name published, received a call from a man pretending to be her grandson. He said he was in a car accident and needed her to wire money to the Philippines in order to get him out of trouble.

The caller asked her to go to Wal-Mart and use Western Union to wire him $1,800 immediately.

The woman was nearly convinced but called her children first and it was soon realized that it was a scam. The man called back again, but this time he got an earful from the elderly woman’s daughter, and he hung up.

The woman who was targeted said the caller had a believable response for every question, and was able to find out specific details, based on things she had said, that made the situation seem believable.

“If they’re calling you asking you for money, then clearly they consider you close if they’re a family member. So, they should be able to answer some pretty basic questions regarding your family history, like what’s your parents’ names? Where did you grow up?"
Bay Roberts RCMP Const. Bryan Vaughan

Vaughan said no one has fallen victim to the scam yet as far as he is aware.

“They managed to catch it in time because they told other family members that they were doing it and the family members stopped them and reported it to me.”

Vaughan said if anyone receives such a phone call and is uncertain whether or not the person is actually a relative, then they should ask the caller verifying questions.

“If they’re calling you asking you for money, then clearly they consider you close if they’re a family member. So, they should be able to answer some pretty basic questions regarding your family history, like what’s your parents’ names? Where did you grow up?

“Once you start asking those questions, and they can’t answer them, they’ll just hang up and move on. They’ll try to convince you, saying, ‘Oh, why are you doubting me? Why are you questioning me?’ and all of this kind of stuff, but clearly it’s a scam.”

Vaughan also warns about similar scams using e-mail.

“People should beware of any type of e-mail that’s asking you to send money through e-mail transfers, or through a banking transaction, such as using Western Union,” he said.

He said banks and similar organizations would never ask for funds, or tell people they’ve won money, via e-mail.  

“That’s just not a method that is used because they know that it’s used by scammers a lot. So, any type of e-mail that you get like that saying, ‘oh, please send me money, please do this’ – never do it,” said Vaughan.

“If it’s a family member, speak to another family member so that they can reach out to that person and make sure it’s actually them. Don’t just always assume that what you’re getting in your e-mail is factual. Do your homework before doing any type of transaction, especially involving money.”

Earlier story

Phone scam targeted at least one person in Bay Roberts area

The Telegram has confirmed that an old phone scam has reared its head again and targeted one person in the Bay Roberts area Friday.

An elderly woman, who did not want her name published, received a call from a man pretending to be her grandson. He said he was in a car accident and needed her to wire money to the Philippines in order to get him out of trouble.

The caller asked her to go to Wal-Mart and use Western Union to wire him $1,800 immediately.

The woman was nearly convinced but called her children first and it was soon realized that it was a scam. The man called back again, but this time he got an earful from the elderly woman’s daughter, and he hung up.

The woman who was targeted said the caller had a believable response for every question, and was able to find out specific details that made the situation seem believable.

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