Nanaimo woman loses $10,000 in phone scam

NANAIMO – Woman was led to believe her son was in car accident.

A Nanaimo woman lost $10,000 in a variant of the grandson scam after being convinced her son was in a car accident and needed cash to pay deductible expenses.

According to Nanaimo RCMP, the victim, 75, received a phone call came from a blocked number earlier this week from a man who said he was a police officer and was calling on behalf of her son who had been in a car accident. The woman, convinced her son needed her help, agreed to send money orders made out to Geyra Walwn. She was also told to send Petro Pivot cards, which are pre-paid VISA cards that can only be used  at Petro Canada, and provided the caller with the card numbers and activation codes.

After sending the money and cards and not hearing back from her son or the police officer, she began to think she had fallen for a scam and told family members who checked the Internet and found a man with the same name living in Puerto Rico and associated to a company based in Nigeria. The family also contacted Petro-Canada in an attempt to have the cards rescinded, but the victim will not be able to recoup her loss.

Nanaimo RCMP were informed about the incident Sunday.

“This had all the earmarkings of a scam,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in a press release. “If only she had taken a few moments to discuss the phone call with her family, she could have avoided the situation entirely.”

O’Brien said anyone who receives similar phone calls should ask questions, do background checks and always let family and friends know what is being asked of you.

For more information on scams and related frauds, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.