Watch out for Scams!

Last updated September 23, 2006

New to me: The "Please help me" Phone Scam:

Just happened once, on September 21, 2006 but here's what happened.

Someone called me and his phone number was blocked. He might even have called my toll-free number. When I answered "Rick here" he said "Rick who?" ... Now I never answer that question unless the caller identifies themselves first, as they are calling me, not the other way around. He said, "Catherine says Hi!" ... No idea who Catherine is. 

The caller identified himself as "**** House" which is a local B&B, who is, incidentally, not one of my customers and who has never heard of me. Guess I'd better do some marketing...

Anyhow, the opening line was "Can you help me. I am at the Toronto General Hospital for <unintelligible> and someone has stolen my credit card and bank card. Please look up the phone number for the local Credit Union."

I was not yet aware that this was a scam, so looked up the number in the phone book and gave it to him. Starting to get a bit suspicious so didn't give him the area code.  I heard some beeping and figured my cell phone battery was going so I asked him to give me his phone # but he said he was calling from a pay phone.

He said, "Hold on" and I guess he was calling the credit union, or trying to make me think he was going to do so. I heard him hurling abuse at someone... "You are paid to help me, not argue with me!!!!!" in very loud, forceful tones. Then he came on again sounding frazzled and said "If I can get them to release some money would you wire it to me via Western Union"

Me: "Don't you have anyone else in town to help you with this?"
Him: "Yes but nobody is home"
Me: "Can't you try hard to find someone? I am too busy today..."
Him: "So you say you're not going to help me."
Me: (feeling guilty now) "OK, go on. Where can I find a Western Union"
Him: "Where's the nearest grocery store to you"
Me: (pretty convinced now) "Save-On" (volunteering no more info)

So now the "Red Alert" is going off in my head. I go down to my office, look up this B&B on the internet and phone them. To my surprise someone answers.

Me: "Is this ***** House B&B"
Them: "Yes it is"
Me: "This is Rick from BBExpo, and I have someone on another line who says you are calling me"
Them: "No I am at home."
Me: "OK Thanks I will call you later and give you more details."

Aha. It's clearly a scam now. I go back to my other call...

Him: "What the hell was that all about!!!!!!"
Me: "I called ***** House to see if they are there."
Him: "Why the &^#*$^&* did you do that?!?!??!?!?!"
Me: Because I am not going to send money to someone I do not know who is calling me from a pay phone. What is your name"
Him: "Why the &^#$@^$*& should I tell you"
Me: "Because if you don't then this call is over."
Him: "I'll put a bullet in your head."
Me: "OK Bye."

I reported this to the local RCMP and they were very aware of this kind of scam. The threat at the end of it was unusual so they took my details.

I had not heard of this scam before, so I'm sharing it with you in the hope that you will not waste 10 seconds of your life on these scum sucking, bottom feeding, waste of skin type of individuals. If someone ever calls me again, I will give them the phone number of the local RCMP detachment and see if they call there...