Overseas fraud attempt puts local man on alert

If it’s too good to be true then chances are a fraud is in the wind, a Red Deer man discovered recently.

If it’s too good to be true then chances are a fraud is in the wind, a Red Deer man discovered recently.

James Pettitt said on Friday that his experience should act as a warning to everyone to be careful and pay extra attention to what people say and send in the mail and on the Internet.

Pettitt, 62, was careful and acquired knowledge of potential scams or frauds that helped him recognize one when he was contacted by a potential overseas roommate.

He placed an online advertisement on Craig’s List seeking a roommate.

The reply was in the form of a $3,000 cheque that told Pettitt to take out $400 for rent, $300 for a damage deposit and another $150 for him to keep just for his trouble.

The sender then wanted Pettitt to mail her back a cheque for about $2,000.

“When I got the letter some alarm went off in my head and I realized what was happening.

“I had read or seen something somewhere so I knew what was going on,” Pettitt said.

“You have to be careful. Some people out there are willing to take you for every nickle,” he said.

Pettitt said he didn’t take the incident to RCMP because “there’s not a lot they can do in single cases like this.”

However, Red Deer city RCMP want to increase various types of fraud awareness in Central Alberta.

Const. Sabrina Grunow said on Friday that they’ve been investigating a growing number of fraud complaints in recent months.

She said most victims have been defrauded when answering ads in newspapers or the Internet where they contact the supposed seller for a product.

Police say victims are given instructions on how to wire payments but never do receive what they’ve ordered.

Grunow said people need to ensure the seller is credible and to not dispense any personal information.

She said people with questions about fraud can check online at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca or www:rcmp.ca/scam_e.htm.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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