‘Tis the season — for scams, that is.
The RCMP are warning residents of a frequently used scam which has returned to the area and has already cost some local residents several thousands of dollars.
Several incidents have been reported to local police where a woman contacts an unsuspecting person over the phone and impersonates a grandchild or other family member in legal trouble. Seniors are frequent targets of this so-called “grandparents scam.”
The suspect tells them they have been stopped for impaired driving or other offenses and requests funds for legal assistance. The money is requested to be transferred through a money wiring agent, which is extremely difficult to track. If the suspect is initially successful in obtaining money, there are usually additional requests made for more money.
Recently some of the calls originated in Quebec, but can come from anywhere. Const. D. Micklefield, of the Salmon Arm detachment, says money should never be wired to an unknown person. If you receive a call you are concerned about, contact the detachment.
A senior Salmon Arm resident received a letter in the mail on Dec. 8 from an Asian investment firm. The letter suggests they have an inheritance from a distant relative, who died in China with no immediate next of kin. The letter suggests there is an opportunity to claim the money before it reverts to the Chinese government.
Part of the scam involves the person providing contact and financial information, and paying a fee for this service.
RCMP advise this is another scam and residents should not send money, cheques or give out bank account numbers to any unknown person.