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Salmon Arm RCMP: fraudster visits woman’s home to collect in bail money scam

Scammer claimed woman’s grandson was in jail, bail money needed
Salmon Arm RCMP say a fraudster visited a woman’s home in an attempt to collect “bail money.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

RCMP say an unsuccessful attempt was made at taking a Shuswap woman for $6,500 in a scam that led the fraudster to her door.

On Feb. 7, the woman reported to Salmon Arm RCMP that she’d received a phone call from a man who claimed her grandson was in jail and needed bail money.

The woman provided the man her home address, went to her local bank and withdrew $6500 then returned home, said Const. Andrew Hodges in a media release.

“A woman in civilian clothing attended the victim’s home; however, the victim began to realize it was a possible scam when the fraudster refused to provide her licence plate and had parked down the road so the victim couldn’t see what type of vehicle she was driving.”

Hodges said the fraudster wound up leaving empty handed. In attempt to identify the suspect, police canvassed the neighbourhood for witnesses and video, but no further information was found, and calls to the fraudsters’ phone number went unanswered.

Police say this bail scam, also referred to by as the “grandparent scam,” relies on urgency and manipulates emotions in order to extort money from the victims.

“Sometimes, the person will pretend to be a police officer or lawyer calling on behalf of their loved one and will demand money to cover fines, bail, or legal fees,” said Vernon North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Chris Terleski in a Feb. 8 media release about the scam being used to target seniors in the area. “The victims are sent to their bank to get the cash and are either told to send it in the mail, or that a courier will come to pick it up. This is a scam.”

Hodges warned bail money is not collected at residential homes, “especially not by people that refuse to identify themselves,” and that police advise against giving out your address to “anyone requesting large sums of money from you over the phone.”

On Feb. 7, Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West said the detachment had been receiving since January an “extremely high call volume” of reported fraud incidents.

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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