Two seniors were recently contacted by a man calling himself "Thomas" who said he needed the women to help him catch a thief.

Man sought in relation to fraud of two seniors

Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a man who defrauded two Red Deer senior citizens of thousands of dollars in the same week.

Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a man who defrauded two Red Deer senior citizens of thousands of dollars in the same week.

The man defrauded two women, one 84 and one 90, by impersonating a bank securities officer who claimed he needed the women to help him catch a thief.

Earlier this week, Red Deer RCMP reported that on June 3, an 84-year-old woman received a phone call from a man claiming to represent the TD Bank located at the Village Mall. He told the victim that her account was being tampered with and instructed her to withdraw money and meet him in the parking lot at the Village Mall the same day.

In this scam, the suspect typically leads the victim to believe they are helping to catch a thief, and swears the victim to secrecy.

In the first case, the victim was defrauded of over $3,000.

Red Deer RCMP have since received a second complaint. A 90-year-old woman was defrauded of almost $6,000 in a similar scam on Tuesday. In this case, the scammer asked the victim to meet him in the parking lot of the Chapters store in south Red Deer.

In both incidents, the suspect went by the first name Thomas. Based on similarities between the incidents, RCMP believe both scams were perpetuated by the same person.

The suspect is described as: Caucasian; approximately 1.82 metres (six feet) tall, with thinning hair and a slim build. He was wearing a light-coloured shirt and khaki pants.

RCMP urge everyone to educate themselves and the vulnerable people in their lives about common telephone frauds.

If you suspect that someone you know is being targeted, don’t criticize them for being naïve. Instead, educate them about scams and assure them that it is not rude to hang up on suspicious calls. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reports that criminal telemarketers can be relentless in hounding people — sometimes calling five or more times a day to wear down their victims’ resistance.

RCMP further urge people to treat their personal information with care — never give out personal information over the phone, and shred old bills and statements. If someone is asking you for money, ask a lot of questions, ask to see identification, and do your own research to confirm that the person, business or charity is legitimate.

For more information on protecting yourself from fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: www.antifraudcentre.ca.

RCMP ask anyone with information that will help identify this suspect to contact the Red Deer RCMP at 403.343.5575. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477 or report it online at www.tipsubmit.com.

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