Bill Brennan feels good about scamming a scammer.
The 86-year-old Courtenay resident fielded several phone calls last Tuesday from a man claiming to be his grandson (Paul Andrew Fripp). The man said he was in a Quebec jail, arrested on an old speeding ticket.
He asked Brennan to send money to his apartment in Montreal.
Brennan asked his ‘grandson’ if he was alright. The caller said he had a cold and was stressed from being in jail. He wanted to get out as quickly as possible.
He pleaded Brennan not to tell anyone — which sent up a red flag — then said his lawyer, named John Smitt, would phone.
“When the guy called he said his name was Jake Smith,” Brennan said. “Then I began to wonder. Originally, he said the amount to send was $3,100.”
But when the lawyer called, he said it was $3,675 and “going up by the minute.” They asked for the money in cash to spring Paul from jail.
To add insult to injury, they wanted Brennan to give the Purolator courier a cheque for $36.62 to pay for it.
Brennan tried to locate Smitt’s or Smith’s phone number, which came back unidentified.
He then called his grandson’s office in Whistler. Upon speaking with the real Paul, he confirmed it was a scam.
“But I’ve kept this guy going ever since. He thinks that I’ve been to the bank and got the money in cash. I phoned the police immediately.”
RCMP told Brennan that scams happen frequently and to tell the person to go away if he calls again.
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The RCMP is involved in a national task force known as the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre that was established to combat telemarketing fraud.
A few basic suggestions from the CAFC should help ensure that you do not fall victim to the tactics of fraudulent telemarketers:
- • DO NOT believe that everyone calling with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity is trustworthy, especially if you do not know the caller or their company.
- • DO NOT invest or purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the investment, product, service, and the company.
- • DO NOT be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
- • DO NOT be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
- • DO NOT be pressured to send money to take advantage of a “special offer or deal.”
- • DO NOT be hurried into sending money to claim a prize that is available for only a “few hours.”
- • DO NOT disclose information about your finances, bank accounts or credit cards (not even the credit card expiry date).
- • DO NOT be afraid to hang up the phone.
- • DO contact the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre if you are contacted by someone who promises you great prizes, but you are required to send money in advance for shipping, handling, taxes, etc.
- • DO contact the Canadian Anti fraud-Centre if you are contacted by someone who says that you have won a prize, but you have to purchase a product to qualify.
Please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to lodge a complaint or request more information:
- • Toll-free telephone: 1-888-495-8501
- • Toll-free fax: 1-888-654-9426
- • E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.