What’s it going to take to get the message out loud and clear to the Trail community, that when an unknown person dials you up asking for money - the only response should be “click.”
In other words, hang up. Period.
This latest phone scam wherein a Trail man lost $5,100 to a fraudster on the weekend had the Trail Times posing this question to Sgt. Mike Wicentowich of the district RCMP.
Despite so much media coverage warning of rampant and criminal scams via telephone, why are people still falling victim?
What’s it going to take to get the word out to cut the line to these fraudsters?
“The issue is that this is an organized group of people who operate in amenity throughout the world and constantly try to lure people in,” he began.
“Prevention and education are the best ways to deal with it.”
Online resources like the Canadian anti-fraud website provide information on the latest scams, however the sergeant provided a few suggestions that may help vulnerable people right here in Trail.
Starting a Facebook group for Trail seniors and their families in which real time information can be exchanged amongst individuals about active scams could prove to be a valuable tool.
As well, Wicentowich advised that installing a call blocker for unknown callers may help as will disabling e-transfers on bank accounts.
These suggestions follow a Saturday morning call to the detachment from a 64-year old Trail man.
Wicentowich says the victim was contacted by telephone about purchasing a time share from a company supposedly based in New York.
The victim sent $5,100 to the “company” by electronic money transfer.
The fraudulent caller then contacted the man after the initial transfer and requested another $16,000.
“That’s when the victim became suspicious that he had been defrauded and reported the matter to the RCMP,” Wicentowich explained.
“Unfortunately, the money already wired to the fraudster cannot be recovered due to the fact that it was sent electronically.”
The Trail RCMP warns the public not to send anyone money electronically unless you are certain that the person or company is legitimate.
These types of frauds are designed to protect the fraudsters from being identified and the money from being recovered.
The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to be aware of the latest frauds via the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.