Creston resident outsmarts phone scam, RCMP offer detection tips

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  • Nov. 28, 2012 5:00 p.m.

Gertie Brown was cutting her husband’s hair when the phone rang with a call that could have bilked her out of hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

“I picked up the phone and a voice said, ‘Hello, Grandma,’ ” Brown said. “ ‘I need help.’ ”

When she asked the caller who he was, she got a coy reply.

“Who do you think it is?” he asked.

Brown guessed the name of her grandson, Chad, and the caller proceeded, claiming that he had been arrested in Vancouver for drinking and driving and needed money.

Believing that her grandson was in Eastern Canada and not Vancouver, Brown became wary.

“What’s your mother’s name?” she asked the caller, who disconnected the call shortly after.

“It really bothers me that older people are targeted in these scams and I’d like to warn others to ask questions that only their real grandchildren (or other relative) would know the answer to,” Brown said.

Phone scams can be reported directly to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a national task force that involves the RCMP, at 1-888-495-8501.

The RCMP recommends the following cautions be taken with suspicious phone calls:

•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); and

•Do not be afraid to hang-up the phone.

•Do contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre if you are contacted by someone who promises you great prizes, but you are required to send money in advance for shipping, handling, taxes and more; and

•Do contact the Canadian Anti Fraud-Centre if you are contacted by someone who says that you have won a prize, but you have to purchase a product to qualify.