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'You're full of –it,' Sudbury woman tells phone fraudster

"First he asked me about my laptop, and I told him I didn't have one," the woman said. "And he said, but your granddaughter does ... Then he said if I didn't send them $1,000, they were going to kidnap her.
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A Sudbury woman says she received a call Monday morning from a man with a heavy accent who threatened to kidnap her granddaughter unless she paid him a ransom of $1,000. File photo.
"First he asked me about my laptop, and I told him I didn't have one," the woman said. "And he said, but your granddaughter does ... Then he said if I didn't send them $1,000, they were going to kidnap her.

"He said he had done this before and he knew Canadians have lots of money."

Instead of getting fearful, she got angry, the woman said, telling the caller that he was “full of sh—t.

"Probably not my finest moment, but I was so taken aback. Then he started screaming at me. He said he knew my address and then he said I even know your cellphone number. And I said good for you, because I don't even know my own cellphone number."

After her initial defiance, she said she got worried after she hung up, and started calling her relatives to make sure everything was OK. She began to panic when they didn't answer the phone, so she called Greater Sudbury Police.

The officer to whom she spoke calmed her down, telling her the call had all the hallmarks of a phone scam. The fraud artists will be able to gather some details that are publicly available and try and intimidate victims in giving them money.

When police checked the number that appeared on her call display, they found it was an Internet phone number, meaning it could have originated anywhere in the world.

"The lady from the police said if they make 1,000 phone calls a day, you're going to maybe hit on something," she said. "They told me, if you get a long-distance call, and you don't know who it is, don't answer it ... She said to absolutely not give them any money. Which I never would have anyway. Never in a million years.”

While threatening to kidnap someone is not a common fraud scheme, she was told it's a serious enough offence that the caller likely is far away enough not to fear they could be arrested for making the threat.

"If they were to catch somebody who had threatened to kidnap someone, that's about a five-year jail sentence," the woman said. "That's not a little slap on the hand."

It's not the first time she's had to deal with a phone scam. Several weeks ago, she got a call at 5 a.m. from a caller who said there was a problem with her credit card.

“They told us our VISA had been compromised, and that someone had just made a $300 purchase on it,” the woman said. “And I said that was hard to believe, since I don't have a VISA. Then he said, 'well then, it's your Mastercard.' Then I hung up."

While no one at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre was available for an interview on this scam, their website has a wealth of information about popular phone scams, as well as a number of other methods thieves use.

For more information on how to protect yourself, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.



Darren MacDonald

About the Author: Darren MacDonald

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