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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Phone Scam Bilking Regional Residents

12:00AM / Monday, December 25, 2006

Vermont state police have issued a warning to those living in and around Bennington County, Vt., about an allegedly Canadian-based telephone scam reported by numerous victims.

Police described the ruse as being "very clever" and said that the scam has netted financial rewards for the perpetrator.

Calls Coming From Montreal and Ontario, Say Police

The ploy involves a telephone call from a person who claims to be a family member or a friend who reports being mugged, kidnapped or experiencing some other misfortune while traveling in Canada. The individual is familiar with certain details about the person being contacted and uses the information to assure that the call is legitimate. If questioned about an unfamiliar voice, the scammer offers explanations such as a broken nose, a damaged pay telephone, or other excuse.

"The scam artists has information about you, your family, and your friends to assist in convincing you that he is who he says," according to a written police statement.

The con artist then states that they need financial help because of the circumstances. Police said that a request for funds may be direct or implied, and that the amount requested is most often about $500.

Once someone agrees to provide money, the scammer insists that only a Western Union transfer is acceptable and instructs the victim where in Canada the funds should be wired.

Police are asking anyone with any information about this ruse to call the Vermont State Police barracks in Shaftsbury, Vt. at 802-442-5421.
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