Ucluelet local Flo Henry is warning her fellow West Coast seniors about a scam that a con artist tried to sucker her into recently.
Henry received a call from a person claiming to be her nephew.
“They said they’ve been in a car accident and they’re at the police station, been there all day, and their insurance company wouldn’t pay the damages could I help him out,” Henry told the Westerly News.
She said she did not recognize the man’s voice but she initially believed him.
“He said he had a broken nose,” she said. “He had me going for the first part.”
Fortunately, Henry had heard about these types of scams before and wasn’t about to fall for one herself.
“I had identified him as Garth because he said, ‘It’s your favourite nephew,’ and my nephew Garth always says he’s my favourite nephew,” she said.
“I said, ‘Can I ask you a question?’ And of course the line went blank. He hung up because he couldn’t answer any of my questions.”
She said her cousin in Surrey nearly fell for a similar scam recently but was saved by a savvy bank teller.
“They were at the bank and her husband was taking the money out of the account and was telling the teller about how his granddaughter was in an accident and [the teller] told him it was a scam,” she said.
Henry believes scammers are targeting seniors and she’s disappointed to see dishonest people trying to take money from vulnerable targets.
“I think that’s pretty low…they’re targeting elderly people,” she said. “They go after the elderly.”
She immediately let the Ucluelet RCMP detachment know about the call and hopes others don’t become victims to the scam.
“I didn’t get caught; they never got any money from me,” she said. “But I think people should know because this is the second one I’ve heard in this area.”
In 2014 the Westerly News reported on a local woman who came within minutes of being conned out of nearly $1,000 after receiving a phone call from a scammer claiming to be her granddaughter and using the same “broken nose” excuse for their voice sounding different.
In the 2014 case, the senior had already mailed a $900 money order to the scammer before speaking with her actual granddaughter and realizing she had been conned.
Luckily, her money order was still at the post office when she raced back to cancel it.
Seniors are urged to be wary of anyone calling them asking for money and all West Coasters are encouraged to speak with the seniors in their lives about potential scams.