EDITORIAL: Don’t fall for the scam

Another phone scam has surfaced, this time targeting the South Asian community ...

Another phone scam has surfaced, this time targeting the South Asian community, and once again using intimidation to pry out personal and financial information – undoubtedly to be used in some sort of fraud.

The caller – claiming to be a police officer – says the family has failed to file immigration documentation, and then fishes for family names and other personal data.

This resembles the bogus Canada Revenue Agency calls which recently swept across the country, in which the scammers posed as federal tax authorities, claiming the recipient of the call had not filed proper income tax information and could face huge fines or prison if money was not sent immediately.

The families getting the immigration con did the right thing by refusing to answer questions, and contacted the police.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. More than a few folks targeted in the tax scam were frightened enough to comply with the money demands, and were taken for thousands of dollars.

That’s why these phone scams – and there are dozens of them – are constantly circulating. The con artists always have a degree of success. If they make enough calls, they’ll find someone who will bend to extortion, fears for a “relative in trouble,” or falls for a promise of lucrative “winnings.”

All too often the victims are elderly. They are not scam-savvy, either because they haven’t heard of the latest fraud, or they’re frail and vulnerable to threats.

For those who have elderly parents, or work closely with seniors, ensure you’ve had a discussion, repeated if needed, about protecting against phone scams.

If you’ve not had such a call personally, be prepared. Don’t believe what you hear over the phone. No government agency or bank demands personal and financial information, or money, by phone.

Be suspicious, don’t comply, hang up, and call the real police.