by CJFosdick on September 5, 2011

I still don’t believe what went down right here in the Cortez area. I was led to believe that my grandson was in danger and was being held in jail in Canada for drug charges. They were very convincing, had ready answers for any questions, and they VERY ADROITLY PICKED MY MIND FOR ANY DETAILS THEY COULD GET FROM ME THAT MADE THEM EVEN MORE persuasive. Mostly they scared me so badly that I went along with them. Thus my husband and I are out nearly $6000. Had we heard of fraud in our area, we might not have been scammed. I would like to warn others to keep this from happening to them.

Things to look for:

A phone call that someone you love is in danger, probably in a foreign country. They will have a convincing story as to why your relative is even in the foreign country. They will give you plenty of details including the name and address of the holding facility and the court case number, their names, and a phone number to contact them. They will seem very polite, well spoken, and concerned for your family member. They will work their way around to your sending money for some reason via Western Union, possibly to yet another country such as Mexico, still making it all seem very convincing. They will insist you don’t have to send the money. With us it was money to put up bond and the money was to go to a bail bondsman who worked for the American Embassy in Mexico with logical reason why not to send it to the American Embassy in Canada. Why the third country? I don’t know. They very likely may not ask for all the money at once. But once they get one payment from you, they may call and ask for a second money transfer. With us it was money for a good lawyer so our grandson wouldn’t be in the hands of an inexperienced public defender who might not get him off and charges on him dropped. I was so panicked by this time, I think I’d agree to about anything.

If you talk to your loved one, make sure you recognize his/her voice. I didn’t but he said he had a cold and was talking from an old pay phone in the basement of the holding facility way up in Canada.

Someone will chat with you for a while pretending to be your loved one. Don’t volunteer details like you are going to pray for him, or even say his name to them. I’m not sure they even knew my grandson’s name, but I’m sure I said it on the phone to him. If it does involve a crime like drugs, they will make it clear that they don’t think your loved one is guilty, but just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I never would have bought into the idea that my grandson is doing drugs. He wouldn’t.

Expect them to keep building on your fears and the need to not include other family members and worry them excessively. They’ll make you think the court hearing is going to be soon, like in the morning, and if you have sent the bond money he’ll be set free and be on his way home. They even told me that he would be flown into Buffalo, New York as it  was the closest city in America.

If you get this far in the conversation, they will ask you if you know anything about wiring money Western Union. I didn’t. They will give you detailed information on how to do it up to and including the location of nearest Western Union Offices to you. They told me Blanding or Cortez. This means they knew enough about me to know where I lived. I have no idea how they go my phone number.

Write down any information they give you. Look for any discrepancies in what they tell you. I didn’t find any that stood out, but then if I had been looking for some, I might have found some. Before you send money, check to see if your loved one is really wherever he/she really is or where you thought your loved one should be. Call the cops. I found this scam is being used so much that law enforcement, banks, Western Union, courthouses, etc. know about the scams and will warn you. Any information you can give or details you got will help. Check the area code they give you, check any names they give you to see if they actually exist, and mostly keep your wits about you. By now my nerves were thoroughly shot. If you supposedly think you are talking to your loved one, ask questions that only he/she would know the answer.

Fox News reported just this morning how scammers are getting smarter, are using cell phones and on-line resources. If you want (I didn’t) ask to see a photo of your loved one. With cell phone technology everyone now has a camera on their cell phone. Even check with your phone carriers like Verizon on reports of fraud. Word has to get out to stop these scumbags.
According to Fox, here are area codes to look for to spot scams:
.649, .284, .809, .876. I will add.514 which is an actual area code for Montreal, Canada, believe it or not.
Look for these scams:
“You’ve won a prize”
“A loved one is desperately hurt or injured”
“Past due bill that has to be taken care of immediately”
“Solicitation to become a mystery shopper.”
I will add, “A loved one in jail in a foreign country for some hideous crime like drugs”

These contemptible excuses for human beings will be out to get you and will have all the resources they need to scam you, up to and including have the numbers you are to call cost somewhere between $25.00 and $100.00 a minute to a foreign country. Luckily phone call for our scam cost us only $8.00 total. Check your phone company ASAP, freeze bank accounts, notify credit cards you have, report to Western Union, Law enforcement, newspapers, even embassies in foreign countries of the fraud immediately upon finding out you have been scammed.
Good luck, Carol Fosdick

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