News

Coquitlam man narrowly avoids being scammed

An 80-year-old Coquitlam man was almost bilked out of $2,000 after someone claiming to be his grandson phoned crying and requesting the money to pay for bail. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
An 80-year-old Coquitlam man was almost bilked out of $2,000 after someone claiming to be his grandson phoned crying and requesting the money to pay for bail.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

An 80-year-old Coquitlam man was almost bilked out of $2,000 after someone claiming to be his grandson phoned crying and requesting the money to pay for bail.

The victim immediately wired the money through Western Union but after a phone call with his daughter he determined that he had been scammed. He quickly notified the police who were able to halt the transfer before it was completed.

"The complainant did the right thing," said Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung. "He was extremely lucky to not lose any money."

Investigating frauds of this kind is difficult, Chung added. Often, the perpetrator does not live in the same country, carrying out the scams from places overseas.

Adding to the difficulty is the fact that warrants are required in order to gain access to information on Western Union clients. By the time the warrant is granted, Chung said often the money has already been transferred.

"Prevention is better than prosecution," he said. "Don't rush into it. Make sure you confirm the ID of the caller."

People should also resist giving in to pressure to act immediately, he added, noting that in this case the caller was sobbing and sounded scared. Details like the caller's name, whereabouts and knowledge of a family member are crucial.

If this information cannot be confirmed, Chung said it is better to be safe than sorry and people should contact the police.

"Take the time to go through these steps," Chung said. "Take down the information and confirm with your family. That way, you are not out $2,000 out of your own pocket."

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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