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Making Waves

Don't Pay The Con Man


By John Divinski

The OPP news release said it all in its title, “Don’t Pay the Con Man.”

The release talked of two people—where they’re from is of no concern because it could happen anywhere—who fell for scams losing $10,000 total in the process.  In this case, it was a so called “lawyer” calling to get some fines paid for vehicle accidents, through the purchase of gift cards.

I don’t know who the victims were this time, or the last time or the next time, but I do know, it’s usually the elderly who have been known to take things at face value and believe the scammer and pay out the money.

If you have elderly parents or relatives, it’s up to you to explain to them that these “bad guys” are out there and will do anything to get your money.

First and foremost, one must drive home the fact that no organization, group, person, government—no one would take any type of payment in “gift cards.”

If necessary, take your elderly relatives out and show them the types of gift cards they’re being asked to buy.

In this latest case, a gift card doesn’t pay a fine, it can only be used to purchase goods from the sponsor of the gift card.  In other words, it just doesn’t make sense no matter how convincing the scumbag on the other end of the phone line sounds.

That’s another thing.

Organizations and professionals don’t make phone calls so you can help pay off someone’s troubles.  It simply isn’t done.

As hard as the police try to educate the general public, these con artists continue to make scores.

If the truthful information comes from a loved one about the scams and do it in person, then maybe the message will get home.

In any event, it’s an ongoing battle so be diligent, be alert and if it sounds to good to be true, it is!

Expect similar occurrences to increase as we head into the holiday season.

When suspicious, hang up the phone and contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501 or you can go online.

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