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Storm saves Pictou County woman from losing cash to scammer

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A Pictou County woman would be out $2,500 were it not for a storm that hindered the plot of a would-be scammer.

The resident, who asked that her name not be used, is sharing her story in hopes of preventing others from falling prey to a similar scam.

The woman says on Thursday she received a call from someone who claimed to be her grandson Alex.

He told her he had been in a car accident and needed her help.

Naturally she wanted to do just that and asked what she could do.

He told her he needed money to rent a car until the insurance came through with a rental car and promised he would be able to pay it back next week. He begged that she not tell his parents about it.

She asked how much and gasped when he told her $2,500.

But because of the situation, she felt obligated to help and despite the fact that the storm was started agreed to draw the money out of her bank and send by Purolator as he requested. (He had told her he needed cash because they were heading into a weekend and banks would be closed).

That money would have been in the scammer’s hands by now had it not been for the fact that because of the storm Purolator wasn’t running Thursday.

The man claiming to be her grandson became frustrated and asked if she would go to Staples and send it out from there.

At that point she refused saying it was too stormy but assured him she would send it in the morning.

Later that evening as she was thinking about the conversation she remembered that he had referred to her as Grandma. It was then that the oddity of that struck her. Her grandson always referred to her as Nan.

So she called her daughter and without disclosing all that happened, asked for her grandson’s cell number. When she called him to confirm what was going on, he assured her he hadn’t called and most certainly didn’t ask for money.

The woman says she felt foolish for being deceived for as long as she was but reported it to police in case they might be able to track down the scammer. An officer told her not to feel bad though because these scammers know how to trick people and play on their emotions.

This particular scammer seemed to know detailed information about her family that made her believe he was who he said he was.

Const. Ken MacDonald of the New Glasgow Regional Police said these kinds of scams are quite common and encourages people to always verify before sending money to anyone. In this case the woman made the right decision to follow up and confirm with her daughter.

“They’re trying to make it very realistic and very believable,” he said.

Another related scam is when a caller claims to be a bank representative and that the person’s account has been frozen.

MacDonald said in cases like that a person is best to hang up and call their local bank’s branch to see if there is an actual problem.

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