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April 3, 2011

Senior Scammed of $50,000 (CANADA)


Senior scammed of $50,000
FRAUD: Phone “Prize Pitch” is second most common dupe
By TARA JEFFREY, THE OBSERVER
April 2, 2011

A local senior has lost more than $50,000 in a phone scam that had her convinced she'd won a new car.

The 76-year-old Point Edward resident was duped by the elaborate scam over an eight-day period beginning March 17, stemming from a phone call she received about winning a new car and a substantial amount of cash, Lambton OPP said.
"The callers are extremely persuasive," said Const. Chrystal Jones. "In order to legitimize the scam, the victim is transferred to numerous persons who offer congratulations on the win." 
To claim her prize, the woman was instructed to wire money to various U.S. locations.
Once she sent the money, the scammer continued to call, convincing her to send even more money by promising a more substantial prize.
Police say the plot thickened when the fraudster called back, this time posing as a police detective. He told the woman she'd been scammed, assured her she was a legitimate winner, and urged her to follow specific instructions.
The "detective" suggested the victim change her phone number and only talk to him from that point on. He also provided a phone number that she was not allowed to call, but could be used to help identify the investigator when he needed to speak with her.
"The family and police intervened at this point and found that the phone number was not legitimate and neither was the prize at the end," said Jones. "Unfortunately in this case, it was too late, as the money was already gone."
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre lists the "Prize Pitch" as its second most common scam.
"Consumers are told they have been specially selected to win a prize, or have been awarded one of three or two of five prizes," the website states. "These prizes usually include cash or a vehicle. You must purchase a product and pay in advance to receive your prize."
Jones said that while the public is more aware of seniors scams these days, the fraudsters are getting smarter with new tools, namely the Internet.

"It's easier for them to find their victims," she said. "It's also in the media these days, and I think our awareness has helped bring it to the forefront."
Anytime you're asked to send money to claim a prize, it's likely a scam, she said.
"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. With the elderly, they're so trusting, and they forget that there are bad people out there who just want their money.
"If you do have elderly parents, check up on them and keep an eye on their finances if you can," she continued. "Just to make sure they're not being preyed upon."

A seminar on crimes against seniors is scheduled for Monday at Thompson Gardens in Corunna, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon., featuring guest speaker Ed Lum, a retired Hamilton Police officer.
Anyone who wishes to attend should contact 519-8624680 or email ccpcnw@yahoo.ca.



SOURCE:     The Observer.CA
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