(HURON COUNTY, ON) – Once again scammers have preyed on victims that are simply trying to help out others. Two recent scams, one in Goderich and one in Exeter are currently being investigated by members of the Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Detachment.
Last week, two victims, one in their 70’s and one in their 80’s each sent out $4,000 cash to an address in Montreal, Quebec to help out someone that they believed had been involved in a car crash. One victim thought they were helping out a neighbour and the other victim thought they were dealing with a grandchild. In both instances the victim proceeded to send cash to the address in Quebec.
Typically the caller will desperately explain that they are involved in some sort of collision, mishap or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money ‘right away.’ They will rely on your love for your family/friends and will gain your trust to keep the matter secret. Fraudsters pressure people into wiring money, sending cash or purchasing gift cards which they turn into cash by cloning the card. Once you wire or send the information on the gift card, your money is gone.
· Urgency — The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
· Fear — The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.” Verify the identity of the person by asking a question they would not know the answer to.
· Secrecy — The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad or Mom, they would be so mad.” Regardless of the emergency, call another family member to confirm the story.
· Request for Money Transfer or Gift Cards — Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company to the criminals, but gift cards are now the more frequently used, easy-to-liquidate alternative to cash.