I write this letter to help unaware citizens understand the ease with which persons in far-off countries can destroy one’s financial well-being, even though their initial gesture to them was an act of kindness.
In the fall of last year I received several letters from an Anglican clergyman in Kenya asking to renew our relationship, although I had no recollection of that relationship. Perhaps it had been at a special international event!
Ultimately, I received a letter from him asking for financial assistance since he was awaiting hospital admission. I phoned church headquarters for assistance, but there was no list of clergy for his diocese. So I simply sent him a cheque for $25 with promise of more later.
Well, the more later was more than a shock!
The manager of my bank phoned to ask if I had written a cheque for $14,700 to a company involved in some form of building. Of course, I rushed to the bank and was surprised to note that the cheque was the same one that I had used for the $25. And furthermore, it was accompanied with a statement containing our names, address and phone number!
Naturally the RCMP were called in and that resulted in much communication between the bank and the police in an area close to Toronto. However, after considerable anxiety, I gave the police the duplicate imprint of the $25 cheque.
They were able to arrest the criminals who were about to leave the country. That imprinted cheque was helpful and a blessed relief!
But how do you think I was feeling when my bank manager phoned me again on March 20.
I was faced with another invasion in our bank accounts — this time from Singapore, not Kenya!
A letter had been sent to the places where I had been as rector of parishes in Regina, Moose Jaw, Edmonton and Red Deer. These letters have lots of information about us — even bank account numbers!
Subsequently, I spent hours with the bank manager and the assistant, changing names and numbers of accounts for saving and chequing.
The bank staff could hardly believe we were about to be hit again.
The crooks seem to be everywhere and very little is secure and safe!
Kudos to the RCMP and the Bank of Montreal.
Rev. T. L. Leadbeater