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Con Artist Now Residing in Vancouver

May 10th, 2011 | by admin admin | in Safety Advice |    213   comments

Last week, the Vancouver Police Department issued a public warning that Tracy Lloyd Caza is now living in a halfway house in Vancouver. You may recall Caza. A con artist preying on the elderly, he stole a gold wedding ring and two heirloom rings from a 91-year-old widow recovering from an amputation. The rings were never recovered. Press release with Caza's description.

Sadly, conartists tend to target the elderly more than any other group. Charming and persuasive, these crooks work hard to gain their victims’ trust. According to the VPD, here are some of the more popular scams:

Pigeon Drop. Congratulations, you’ve won a fabulous prize worth a million dollars. All you need to do is send a nominal “good faith” payment before you can claim the prize. Don’t believe it. You’ll never hear from the con artist again.

Bank Auditor. Your bank asks you to help catch a crooked employee. All you need to do is withdraw some money and send it to a certain address so that auditors can check the serial numbers on the cash. Once you send the cash, the auditor disappears.

Funeral Chasers. After Grandma dies, the family may receive goods in the mail. The seller will claim she made the order before her death and demand payment. Be suspicious. Did Grandma like to order widgets from ABC Co.? What does the Better Business Bureau say about the company?

Pyramid Scheme. You invest a hundred dollars into a start-up company. The more new investors you recruit, the bigger your payout. New money is used to pay out early investors. The pyramid collapses. Only the person on top has money, and that scammer is long gone.

Free Inspection. A repairman knocks on your door. He happens to be in the neighbourhood and will inspect your home for free. Invariably, your house will need expensive repairs immediately. Or, he has “surplus” materials he wants to unload at bargain prices. “Surplus” usually turns out to mean “stolen.”

Fake Charities.If someone phones you or shows up at your door asking for donations, ask for the charity’s registration number. Before donating, request a brochure or web site address to research the charity. Call Canada Customs and Revenue Agency to make sure the charity is in good standing.

Before you part with any money or valuables, do your research. If that nice woman you met at the park offers to do your banking, consider how you could trace your money or her if she didn’t show up again. If you can’t remember ordering some goods, or borrowing some money, maybe you didn’t. It doesn’t hurt to demand detailed proof, and to ask a trusted friend or relative to check out the claim.

Avoid snap decisions. Any respectable business will work with you, not pressure you to buy or pay. Don’t let an aggressive scammer intimidate you. As with all schemes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Author: Susanna Chu

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