By Dale Cory
RCMP detachments across Alberta have recently received several complaints of senior citizens being defrauded.
In Airdrie, a group of fraudsters have placed calls to elderly citizens posing as their grandson or granddaughter. The callers proceed to tell their victim they are in jail and need bail money. In multiple cases the elderly victim wires the caller money through Western Union or some other money transferring company.
In Ponoka, the detachment has received one complaint so far and it has very similar circumstances.
“In this particular case here, a grandchild has been involved in an accident involving impaired driving and someone is asking for money in order to assist with this. It’s very similar to the cases coming out of Edmonton,” explained Sgt. Glenn DeMaere. “These people tend to target the grandparents, who are unlikely to know the specifics of where their grandchildren are at. A common theme of all these types of frauds is that they are preying on human frailties.”
RCMP would encourage people with elderly parents to touch base with them and go over some of the safety tips listed here.
“Double-check any information you get. If you receive a call from a lawyer, ask where the children are being held if they are asking for bail money. Know that, if bail money is required, you can actually come to the local detachment, and we’ll look after collecting that money and forwarding a receipt or making arrangements to confirm the circumstances.
“A few minutes on the phone could save you several thousand dollars.”
The RCMP is involved in a National Task Force known as Project Phonebusters that was established to combat telemarketing fraud. A few basic suggestions from Project Phonebusters should help ensure that you do not fall victim to the tactics of fraudulent telemarketers:
• Do not believe that everyone calling with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity is trustworthy, especially if you do not know the caller or their company.
• Do not invest or purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the investment, product, service, and the company.
• Do not be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
• Do not be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low cost purchase.
• Do not be pressured to send money to take advantage of a “special offer or deal.”
• Do not be hurried into sending money to claim a prize that is available for only a “few hours”
• Do not disclose information about your finances, bank accounts or credit cards ( not even the credit card expiry date).
• Do not be afraid to hang-up the phone.
For more information or to please contact Project Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at: www.phonebusters.com