Sudbury senior falls victim to phone scam
Published Friday, November 16, 2018 12:47PM EST
A Sudbury senior is speaking out about a recent phone scam experience where he says he lost thousands of dollars.
Leo Laforest says his ordeal started this week with a phone call from someone claiming to be with his bank's fraud department.
"She said that we had been stolen from, $300 on our Visa card and a little while later, $1,100, and if I could give them my card number so they could pursue this culprit.” said Laforest.
The 84-year-old says he was told to look at his bank account online.
Sure enough, he saw the missing money, and wanted to help.
That's when things escalated with a second phone call, this time from a man.
"He was going to deposit $5,000 in my chequing account and I’d go to the bank and withdraw that $5,000." said Laforest.
He says he was instructed to buy hundreds of gift cards and share the card numbers with the man on the phone. He says he thought the money was put in his account and that the gift card numbers would be used to somehow catch the culprit.
"I don't know what the idea was, but all I know is, I was very naive in the whole deal. But it's done now and I’m out six thousand dollars." said Laforest.
John Lindsay is the chair of a senior’s advocacy group, Friendly to Seniors Sudbury.
He says seniors get conned by these types of scams frequently.
"They could be more vulnerable too because they're more trusting and no one wants to offend anyone." said Lindsay.
He says seniors need to proactively protect themselves.
"Be vigilant and, of course if you're at all suspicious, don't be afraid of being rude, hang up that phone.” said Lindsay.
Sudbury police say they get many reports about these scams, but they are difficult to pursue.
"The majority of these calls, emails or text messages are from out of Ontario and sometimes out of Canada, so they are difficult to pursue." said Kaitlyn Dunn, of Greater Sudbury Police Service.
Police say stopping con artists from scamming seniors on the phone comes down to greater awareness among the elderly about these kinds of crimes.
They say they will continue to work with the community to get that message out.