Alert bank teller prevents $8,000 scam

Langley senior victimized by men claiming to be fire inspectors.

An 88-year-old war veteran would like to warn other seniors, after he came close to losing $8,000 from men who were pretending to be representing the fire department.

An alert bank teller kept that from happening.

Four men in a truck came to his rural home in the 40 Avenue and 232 Street area over the weekend, and tried to bilk the long-time Langley resident out of $8,000 for new smoke detectors they say he “needed” to install.

“I saw them pull up in a truck and look at the gate,” said the senior, who won’t be named to protect his identity.

They then drove away and a while later called him to say they were going through the neighbourhood and needed to inspect his carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.

It was later learned that these four men, three in their 20s or 30s, and one man in his 60s, went to the man’s neighbour, saying they has wanted to look at a tractor for sale on the property, but the gate prevented them from looking.

They convinced the neighbour to give them the war veteran’s name and phone number.

“They called me up so I opened the gate for them,” he said. “They went through the whole house and installed new smoke alarms.”

That’s when they asked for a cheque for $8,000.

“The smoke detectors were those cheap ones,” said the victim’s son.

“What saved my hide” is that his cheque bounced and the teller at the Royal Bank  in Willowbrook, who dealt with the suspect trying to cash the cheque, knew of the victim and knew it was out of character, his son said. She called the police.

Police took fingerprints from the smoke detectors and are actively looking to make some arrests in this case.

In the meantime, the situation has left this senior shaken.

“I didn’t sleep well that night,” he said. His gate is even more secure and his son, who lives nearby, is keeping a close eye out.

They hope there is an arrest.

“You can’t shoot these guys anymore,” the victim joked. “That would solve things really quickly.”

One suspect in his 30s was chewing tobacco, another was heavy set, in his late 30s and one was very tall.

The older man is described as Caucasian, in his mid-50s to 60s, 5’7” tall.

Police say the suspects arrived in a newer white pickup, with orange lights on a rack at the back window of the truck. Anyopne with information about this crime or these suspects can call Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200, or contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)

Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Marks reminded people to do the following to prevent similar occurrences:

– Do not allow unknown persons into your home.

–  Determine the employer or company and contact them to confirm the perso n is, in fact, representing their agency. Look up the number yourself.

– Require them to produce identification and certification of training.

– Require references to the quality of the work. Any reputable company would be happy to provide references. Contact the references

– Require they provide a detailed estimate in writing, and do not pay for services in advance

–  If a deposit is required, work out a payment schedule in writing.

– Contact the Better Business Bureau to validate the company name and confirm they are a company in good standing