CCH Auxiliary Members Learn About Scams and Fraud Prevention

Krystine Therriault - Seaway News
CCH Auxiliary Members Learn About Scams and Fraud Prevention
Caption: L to R: Officer Mark Villeneuve (RCMP), Lorna Grant (President, CCH Auxiliary), and Cst. Patrick Hygen (CPS) (Photo : Krystine Therriault/Seaway News)

The Cornwall Community Hospital Auxiliary met at the RCAFA Wing 424 on April 3, 2023. In addition to their regular meeting, RCMP Officer Mark Villeneuve and CPS Constable Patrick Hygen gave a presentation on how seniors can protect themselves from scams and fraud attempts.

The presentation covered many common scams such as the Grandparents Scam and Romance Scams. Villeneuve and Hygen went over warning signs to look out for and recommended that if something doesn’t sound right during a phone call, just hang up. The same goes for knocks on the door. For example, if a person claims to be from a service company but you did not call for service, do not let them in.

During the question period, several auxiliary members shared their own personal experiences with these kinds of scams. They shared that even though it can be embarrassing to talk about, when victims tell family and friends about their experience it can help prevent others from becoming victims too.

One gentleman shared that he recently bought a brand-new smart TV. Somehow, the TV was hacked and when he was setting up his streaming services a phone number popped up on the screen. The person offered to set up one of his subscriptions, so he gave his credit card number. He then got a notification from the bank that his card had been compromised and charged for thousands of dollars.

Another member, a woman, shared that she was targeted when she was going through a lot of stress due to her husband being ill and came very close to falling for the Grandparents Scam. She received a phone call from someone pretending to be her grandson, saying he had driven someone else’s car and gotten into an accident where someone was hurt.

Her first mistake was asking, “Is that you, (insert name here)?” Unintentionally giving away her grandson’s name.

His ‘lawyer’ said they needed bail money in cash, and she had to agree to a gag order. She went to the bank and had to lie to the teller to get them to let her exceed her daily withdrawal limit. It wasn’t until she was on her way home that she started to see all of the red flags. When she got home, she told her company what happened. Even though she avoided the scam she was worried for days that the scammer would come after her for not getting them the money.

“I was afraid to answer the phone, I was afraid to answer the door. I was a nervous wreck,” she said.

One tip given by law enforcement that might not be common knowledge is that if you get a suspicious call, hang up and wait a few minutes before phoning the police. Even better, call from a different phone. It is possible for scammers to hijack your phone line. If you hang up and immediately call the police from the same number, the person could still be listening in or intercept the call you are trying to make.

“I do all of the presentations like this for Cornwall,” Cst. Hygen told Seaway News, “This is the first time that [Mark Villeneuve and I] present together but we often work together for other things as well.”

Cst. Hygen explained that there are always a large number of fraud cases in the Cornwall area. Staying informed and questioning things you hear on the phone, internet, or when someone comes to your door can stop you from becoming a victim.

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