Phone scam hits local grandmother

Think twice before sending money loans overseas, local grandmother Val Pawlik is warning as many people as she can.

  • May. 2, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Think twice before sending money loans overseas, local grandmother Val Pawlik is warning as many people as she can.

“It’s a very expensive hard lesson,” she said.

Pawlik is a victim of what RCMP have called the Emergency Grandparent Scam.

Last week, she received a phone call from a phone number listed on her phone as private.

“Hi grandma. This is your favourite granddaughter. Your oldest one,” Pawlik heard from the other line of the phone.

The person on the other line convinced Pawlik that she was her eldest granddaughter, and was stuck in a Jamaican jail, and needed a $975 loan to get out on bail.

The woman on the line then handed the phone over to a man who claimed to be a lawyer. He got Pawlik to go to the post office to get a MoneyGram.

When she got back from the post office an hour later, Pawlik called the number provided to her, and a man with a Jamaican accent answered. She gave him the reference number.

The money was then sent, and there was no turning back.

A few hours later, Pawlik met with a local friend, who is also a grandmother, who informed Pawlik that she had received a similar phone call, but had hung up on them.

“I’m going to try and stop it from happening to anyone else here,” Pawlik said, of the scam.

She believes the fraudsters learned about her and her grandchildren through the Facebook website. Her eldest granddaughter does in fact travel a lot, which put travel problems within the realm of possibilities.

Pawlik has contacted the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the Lake Cowichan RCMP, the Lake Cowichan Post Office, and as many friends as possible, in order to warn them of the scam.

It’s a financially painful scam to fall into, as, with all things taken into account, Pawlik is out about $1,000.