Internet Dating and Romance Scams

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Canadian scam targets elderly

By TRACY HARMON

CANON CITY — If you get a call claiming your grandson is in the clink in Canada and urging you to wire cash, hang up the phone — it’s a new, convincing scam.

Police warn a new Canadian scam which targets the senior population and uses family as motivation.

“These calls are generally well-researched and the caller may have the first and last name of an actual family member,” said Canon City police Capt. Allen Cooper.

The caller actually purports to be the victim’s grandson or granddaughter, claiming to be in jail in Canada for a crime, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. The caller then urges the grandparent to wire a certain amount of money so he or she can be released without charges being filed.

“These are extremely difficult cases to investigate and prosecute,” Cooper said. “If you receive a call from someone posing as a relative, verify with other family members the location and activities of the alleged caller.”

Several local residents took the time to make those calls only to find out the grandchild was fine, hadn’t been arrested and had never taken a trip outside of the country.

“It is also a good idea for families to establish code words to be used in emergencies. If you are suspicious the caller is not actually a relative, ask them for the family code word,” Cooper said.

Another scheme that is being perpetrated in the community is the Nigerian scam in which a schemer befriends the victim and attempts to retrieve information such as phone numbers, addresses and bank account information.

“They do this slowly and without raising your suspicions as they make you feel that they truly want to know about you. Some will show items for sale, while others are requests for cash pickup from a local bank that is then to be wired to a location not disclosed until just before the transfer,” Cooper said.

Schemers responsible for this type of sting are usually located in African areas, often Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, these fraud cases are almost impossible to investigate, and citizens have little chance of recovering their losses. Use caution in releasing any personal information,” Cooper said.

Residents are urged to avoid being pressured into making on-the-spot decisions. Before making any significant financial decisions, consult with family, friends or other trusted individuals.

Cooper suggested asking the caller to send literature and information by mail so the offer can be analyzed.

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May 4, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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