Nanaimo RCMP are hosting a free seniors crime prevention seminar Oct.18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Bowen Park Recreation Centre.
The four-hour event will touch on issues like personal safety and elder abuse. But the talks seminar will also feature a talk frauds and scams led by Lang Evans of the B.C. Securities Commission.
Police are warning Nanaimo seniors to be wary of frauds after receiving several reports of 'grandson' scammers calling residents asking for cash.
The local RCMP call centre has dealt with between 15 to 20 complaints from residents in recent weeks, said Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O'Brien.
Included in the complaints are people who have been affected by a computer spam that locks their computer screens, O'Brien said.
Under the grandson scam, residents are contacted from a Montreal or Quebec number, with the caller claiming to be their grandson, O'Brien said. Sometimes, the caller will identify themselves by a specific name, while other times, the caller will just identify themselves as 'your grandson' and hope the ploy works.
O'Brien said the 'grandson' will state they are in jail in Quebec because they were driving and had an accident. The caller will typically say that because they had some alcohol in their system, which is why they are being held in jail. Because they are too embarrassed to call mom or dad, they will ask the unsuspecting senior for bail money somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000, O'Brien said.
Another caller will come on the line and pose as a lawyer for the 'grandson,' and in turn, the victim will be passed off to another scammer posing as a legal assistant, who will take down the victim's financial information and arrange for funds to be transferred through Western Union.
O'Brien said it is common for seniors to be taken in by the scam. He said that pausing and taking time to assess the situation is helpful.
"The key thing is, if you feel pressured, there's a reason why," said O'Brien.
"Ask them for a phone number," he said. "Then talk to a neighbour or friend. Hang up. Don't give them personal or banking information."
O'Brien said it is common for police to get a dozen complaints a month, and said the RCMP has been following up with seniors groups on the issue.
Marketing job opening
A new marketing and communication person is being sought by the city's parks, recreation and culture department.
The city is replacing outgoing marketing and communications specialist Hannah King, and comes with a $31.95 wage after the probationary period ends.
Parks, recreation and culture director Richard Harding said the scope of the position could change as city budget discussions continue.
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