Scammers target elderly
An attempted identity theft of a 96-year-old Bradner woman was intercepted by her son before she saw the letter.
Their names are being withheld to protect them from other criminal activity, but the son wants locals to know that this crime appears to involve local persons.
The letter is a familiar scam, in which a purported banker from overseas offers the letter's recipient cash rewards if they would assist in transferring millions of dollars out of another country into Canada. The letter solicits the recipient's full names, address, phone and fax numbers, occupation and age.
Most people are aware that providing this information can be sufficient for criminals to assume a victim's identity but the criminals tend to prey on the vulnerable, such as elderly persons.
That, along with the fact that the letter appears to be hand-delivered to their rural mailbox, makes the son suspect that his mother was targetted by someone locally, who may have been aware of her advanced age.
The son notes that the Tanzanian stamp on the letter, which had his mother's correct name and address on it, was not postmarked either in Tanzania or Canada.
Authorities estimate that there is a new victim of identity theft every three seconds somewhere on the planet. Much of it transpires over the internet but there is still plenty of it taking place via "snail mail" and the telephone.
The public is advised to be very careful about sharing any of their personal information with anyone, and to advise police of any unsolicited queries about personal information.