Current phone fraud scam plays on heart strings of victims…

FORT ST. JOHN, BC: Recently, the Fort St. John RCMP has received more than one call for a phone fraud scam that has the victims paying out large sums of money to help family members in emergency situations such as being in a collision and arrested by police or at the hospital required emergency medical treatment. 

Officers have spoken with multiple callers who have reported they received a call from a lawyer representing a family member, a son or daughter or grandchildren and request immediate significant sums of money in order to help the family member in their current emergency situation.

One such situation included a scammer pretending to be a lawyer who called and said that the victim’s son, who they identify by name, has been in a vehicle collision with another person and that the son has been arrested. 

The lawyer stated bail money was required to get their son out of jail. Banking information was provided to the victim to deposit money into an account to be used as payment for bail. Once the initial payment had gone through, the scammer then tells the victim about the other person involved in the accident and that the bail amount has risen due to additional charges. The scammer directs the victim to deposit more bail money. The scenario keeps going on until the victim finally figures out something isn’t right.

In these frauds, the scammers may pose as a lawyer or even as the family member and will already have the name of the son, daughter or grandchild and appear to be credible because they don’t ask for much information. 

A significant warning sign to look for is that the pressure is on, that the funds are needed immediately to deal with the emergency, adding urgency, often causing victims to make sudden decisions. They may even say that you shouldn’t talk to anyone else about this or you don’t have time to wait. 

“These scammers are deplorable because they take advantage or hard working, upstanding citizens who care deeply about their family members”, said Constable Chad Neustaeter, Media Relations Officer for the Fort St John RCMP Detachment.  “Don’t let their pressure tactics scare you into giving up your hard earned money.”

In order to avoid becoming a victim in a situation like this:

  • ask for time,
  • reach out to the son, daughter, grandchild or other family members that would be able to verify the situation,
  • don’t feel pressured to send money immediately,
  • don’t provide personal or banking information.

If you become a victim or a fraud like this, report it to your local police and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  Speak out about it by telling your family and friends to help protect others in your community.

Written and released by the Fort St. John RCMP.

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