Arlene and Bill Pike are no strangers to robocalls and scam telemarketing calls, but one recent phone call almost cost them $8,000.
“We often get scam calls and we just hang up but this one seemed so real and when it involves your child you react emotionally,” Arlene said.
In late August, the phone rang at their Brookswood home and they were prepared to send thousands of dollars to help their son.
“I answered the phone to hear a voice sobbing and calling me ‘mom’. He said he had an accident. I handed the phone to my husband. A man came onto the phone and said he was a lawyer and was going to represent our son in court,” she explained.
The man on the phone said their son had a broken nose [to explain why his voice might sound strange] and was being looked after but the situation was serious – he had hit a child.
“He was being taken down to the cells to be processed. As it involved a child being hurt (broken femur), it would be a federal case. He said our son blew .09 but they didn’t do a second test so the ‘lawyer’ was sure he could get him off.”
The man on the phone said the bail would be $8,000 and his secretary would call back with information on how to get him the bail money.
Common sense started to take over from the emotions for the Langley couple.
When Bill got off the phone, Arlene wondered aloud if this was really about their son.
“He immediately phoned our son. He was at work and was just fine,” Arlene said.
Some of the things the man on the phone said just didn’t seem to add up.
“For one thing, our son does not drink but the fellow, said he was comforting a friend who had lost hid dad,” Arlene said. “Also, he said the accident happened at 8 in the morning. Our son works in Vancouver so he would be en route much earlier than that.”
Knowing their son was fine, they started to dismantle the rest of the encounter.
“As soon as he asked for money, I became suspicious. It all seemed very familiar,” Arlene said. “Then I remembered my friend had a very similar incident involving her daughter about eight months ago. She was at the door of her bank when she decided to phone and check with her daughter. She found out her daughter was at work and was just fine.”
The Pikes contacted the RCMP but were somewhat disappointed with the reception. The police said there are countless calls like this and suggested they warn their friends and neighbours.
Helping stop scammers doesn’t fall within Bill and Arlene’s duties as Langley Seniors of the Year but Arlene said she’s hoping others read about their experience and let their heads lead over their hearts should they receive such a call.
“If we can save one person from falling for this scam, it will be worth it,” she said.
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