Mission seniors targeted by scammer

Mission seniors targeted by scammer

Young women tells tale of woe, asks to enter house, borrow phone and for money for sick child.

A scam directed at seniors has been reported in the Mission area. It involves a young woman asking for help for her sick baby.

Last week a Mission senior answered a knock on her door early in the morning and discovered a young, upset-looking woman standing on the doorstep.

The visitor said she had locked herself out her house and needed to use the phone to contact her sister, who was watching her sick baby.

“I thought, ‘Oh, that poor baby, that poor mom,’ so I said to her, come on in,” said the Mission senior, who asked that her identity not be revealed.

Once the stranger was inside, she made several calls on the homeowner’s phone. She eventually told the senior that her dad was coming from Chilliwack to bring her a spare set of keys.

Being a kind-hearted host, the senior allowed the woman to wait in her home. That’s when the story changed.

“She proceeded to tell me that she had a prescription for her baby, who was very sick, and it was $86 but she didn’t have any money on her to pick up the prescription because her purse was locked in her house.”

That’s when she asked the senior to lend her some cash.

“I kind of looked at her and thought, something’s going on here, something’s wrong.”

Although she had money in the house, the senior declined to give the stranger any, suggesting she take her child to the Mission Hospital.

The young women then asked for a ride to a house in the downtown area.

The senior woman’s husband agreed to drop the stranger off.

While she is fortunate that she didn’t lose any money in the incident, the senior wants other people to be aware of the danger.

After calling some friends and neighbours, the senior discovered that the young woman had told a similar story to others.

“I hear she targets houses that have cars with veteran’s licence plates on it,” said the upset senior.

“I let her in my house. I’m so stupid but, I mean, she had the gift of the gab and I was feeling sorry for the baby.”

She has reported the incident to the Mission RCMP, who are investigating.

“Scams such as this, where suspects approach victims and ask for money with a hard-luck story, are common,” said Mission RCMP Sgt. Shaun Wright.

“The public is cautioned to be careful in dealing with strangers who approach them at their residence for money or assistance.”

He said they will often ask to use the phone or request water and then commit thefts while the victim is out of the room.

“What is particularly troubling about these incidents is the depravity of the suspects who routinely prey upon elderly victims who are often on fixed incomes,” said Wright, adding the incidents often go unreported.