“Grandma?” the low raspy voice on the phone said. “Do you know who this is?”
“Yes, it’s Mitchell. I am in trouble.”
This was the hook for a scam that bilked a Lower Mainland senior out of $8,000 in February.
The man impersonating Mitchell, the victim’s grandson (name changed), explained he borrowed a friend’s car and was rear-ended.
When the police arrived at the scene of the accident, they opened his trunk and found a kilo of marijuana, “Mitchell” said.
Now he was in jail and needed bail money.
Mitchell’s grandmother was told there was a gag order and she couldn’t talk to anyone.
But being Thursday, the money was needed right away or Mitchell would spend the weekend in jail.
So, a quick trip to the bank and a handover of $8,000 in cash and the scam was a success.
Preying on people’s concern for their grandkids or other loved ones, and using such pressure tactics as the fear of the law, a sense of urgency and need for secrecy, scammers have managed to convince victims to withdraw thousands of dollars from the bank and hand it over to perfect strangers.
The car accident/drug bust is a typical story.
The scammer will often tell the victim not to talk to anyone, even the bank teller.
Some scammers will send an “official” to the victim’s home to pick up the money or ask the victim to send the money.
In a recent Richmond scam, a grandmother was convinced to send her “grandson” $5,300 in the mail for a car payment.
Richmond RCMP say don’t be afraid to say “no,” and call your loved ones to find out if there’s a legitimate problem.
Furthermore, never give out personal banking or credit card information, and don’t ever send cash in the mail, RCMP caution.
Richmond RCMP recently held an information session for seniors at the Thompson Community Centre to give them information on frauds and scams and how to protect themselves.
Any group who might want to have a presentation about frauds and scams can reach out to the RCMP’s Community Engagement Team at 604-278-1212.