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Grandparent scam resurfaces in the Shuswap
If you get an unusual call from your grandchild, beware.
Lillian and Keith Bennett of Salmon Arm received a call last week from a female purporting to be their granddaughter in need of help.
The call came Monday morning, Sept. 23, and Lillian answered. At first she wasn’t sure if it was her 12- or her 24-year-old granddaughter speaking, but she thought she’d be able to distinguish which one as they kept talking.
“She said, ‘I have a cold, I didn’t think you’d recognize my voice,’” explains Lillian.
The girl then said she’d been up all night crying. She had been out with friends for supper the night before, she said, and they’d all had a bit too much to drink. Because she was the least intoxicated, she figured she would drive. However, she was in an accident.
Everybody’s OK, she told Lillian, but the police came, took a breathalyzer and arrested her.
Lillian had already become skeptical about the call because her granddaughter had been visiting in the Shuswap that weekend, so she knew she wouldn’t have been able to drive home in time to go out for dinner with friends.
But the next statement really sounded fishy.
The girl said police took her to jail, got her a legal-aid lawyer and then took her before a judge – after midnight apparently.
Lillian didn’t think that would happen and was motioning for her husband to pick up the other phone. Then she put her hand over the phone to try to alert him and, when she came back to talk, the caller was gone.
“She didn’t get to ask for money, but you could see where she was leading,” says Lillian.
Despite her suspicions about the call, Lillian said the caller was convincing – and she can see how someone could be taken in.
Just to make certain, she called her granddaughter, who confirmed she hadn’t called.
Lillian adds, laughing, that she wouldn’t have sent money anyway – her granddaughter would have had to figure it out.
The Bennetts weren’t the only Salmon Arm residents to be contacted by a scam artist, but this person wasn’t so lucky.
Police report that at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, a man called to say he’d been the victim of a fraud. He had received a phone call from a person in Ontario claiming to be a lawyer.
He was told his son was in an accident and that $2,000 bail money must be wired so he could be released from custody.
The claim was found to be false, but too late. The money had already been sent.
Salmon Arm police warn that this is a common fraud.