It appears more fraudsters have been preying on Tri-Cities residents, particularly those of an older age.
According to Coquitlam RCMP, a grandmother was recently bilked out of $10,000 to what turned out to be a fake lawyer, and is one of many scam reports Mounties have recently received involving substantial transactions.
Spokesperson Const. Deanna Law said a man claiming to be a lawyer told the woman her granddaughter needed the five-figure bail to be released from police custody.
The backstory: The granddaughter was involved in a vehicle accident and first responders were on scene, but police found drugs in the trunk after searching her vehicle, which led to the arrest.
The grandmother ultimately agreed to the unauthorized transaction, but later realized it was a scam and reported the stolen money to RCMP.
"Fraudsters are always coming up with different tactics to scare people out of their money," said Law in a news release today (Aug. 15) about the incident.
"These scammers make the call seem urgent and authentic. They prey on the vulnerable in hopes fear will overcome their emotions and another will fall victim to their demands."
Other notable scams currently circulating in the detachment's jurisdiction include bitcoin deposits and other sketchy transactions, as well as people who have posed as "legit business representatives."
Residents who think they've been victimized by a scam are encouraged to call local police and record details of the interaction with the fraudster.
This includes phone numbers, email addresses and other forms of communication, as well as photographs or screenshots if it's an online conversation.
To curb scammers and prevent potential loss of money, Coquitlam RCMP has listed the following tips:
- Do a reverse image search
- A quick and easy way to see if a person's photo has been copied from the internet
- Do not send money to someone you've met online. If they ask for some, it's a red flag
- Don't be intimidated by high-pressure communications from someone online
- If you don’t feel comfortable, say "no" and hang up
- Never provide personal information over the phone
- Name, address, birth date, Social Insurance Number (SIN), credit card or banking information
- Keep in mind that you may not truly know who you are talking to
- Always verify who is calling
- You can do this by calling the person back on the phone number you have for them
- Do not send money or provide credit card information to someone calling and asking for bail money
- Call a trusted friend or family member for their opinion on the phone call before doing anything
- Remember: Police, a bank, a law office or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will never call you and ask for personal information or demand a payment of any kind
Anyone with more information about a potential scam, or if you believe you have fallen victim to fraud, you're encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550.