A North Vancouver senior was scammed out of $6,000 last week after a woman claiming to be his niece convinced him to wire her money to help her out of a legal bind.
The suspect phoned the 80-year-old Jan. 18, and told him she was his niece, that she was in Montreal for a wedding and that she had been arrested for drunk driving following a traffic accident.
The woman asked for $2,500 to cover the damage to the other vehicle, explaining it would help her avoid more legal complications. When the victim agreed, she passed the phone to a second suspect, this one a man claiming to be the womans lawyer. He explained to their mark how to transfer the cash.
The next day, after the transaction had gone through, the woman called again and pleaded for another $2,000 to pay for a further fee connected with the case. The day after that she called yet again, this time looking for $1,500 to cover her flight home.
The woman used the real nieces name and seemed to know other details about her life, such as the fact she lived in Vancouver with her father, according to the victim.
The man realized he had been duped when he met up with his real niece on the weekend and was met with confusion when he asked her about her supposed trip to Montreal. He reported the incident to police Sunday.
The fraud appears to be the latest incarnation of the classic grandson scam, which police in both North and West Vancouver have warned the public about numerous times in recent years. Typically, the perpetrator approaches a senior in person or by phone, claims to be a young relative and asks for money to help them out of legal trouble often relating to a traffic accident. They frequently request that the cash be wired to Montreal.
Even savvy victims can fall for the ruse, said Cpl. Richard De Jong, a spokesman for the North Vancouver RCMP, noting the complainant in last weeks case was an astute individual.
Hes a very intelligent guy, said De Jong.
Anyone who is approached for a large sum of money by someone claiming to be a relative should double-check with a family member or by other means before sending any cash, he said.
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