Saturday, February 24, 2024

Fraud reports double in MODG

Police say scammers increasingly target seniors

  • January 24 2024
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

GUYSBOROUGH — Local RCMP fielded more than twice the number of fraud reports between October and December 2023 than in the comparable period in 2022, according to new crime stats prepared for the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG).

“There’s been some significant fraud [as] we seem to have a lot of people in our district [being] targeted,” Cpl. Mike Wilson of the RCMP’s Canso detachment told the regular meeting of MODG council on Jan. 17 about scamming.

Moreover, he said, “They definitely target seniors.... a lot of times, it’s [money] transfers to [fraudsters in] Bangladesh and India. They are good at it, but they may only need to be successful once in 100 [times].”

According to the Guysborough District RCMP policing report for MODG (Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2023), the number of fraud “occurrences” more than doubled, to 18 from eight, compared with the same months in the previous year. That was the single largest year-over-year jump in any of the 15 different types of property crime the RCMP collated in the summary.

Said Wilson: “It’s very difficult to deal with from a policing perspective ... very difficult to take any investigative steps. You can’t charge [anyone] in these developing countries [as] they don’t have the same kind of laws as we have here ...So, getting education out there to people ... on how to protect themselves ... is very important.”

On Jan. 19, 69 citizens, mostly seniors, showed up at the Canso Lions Club to hear local RCMP Const. Tammy Hudak and Cpl. Marc Michon offer tips and support “when dealing with cases of fraud.” Said Hudak in an interview following the talk: “They came out in droves. It was really well received. Their questions were well thought out.”

Hudak said she’s working with MODG Councillor Mary Desmond to offer more presentations like this in the municipality. “There can be a lot of embarrassment that goes along with this sort of thing ...People appreciate the opportunity to talk about it,” Hudak said.

Awareness is still the best defence against a type of crime that’s becoming endemic, Nova Scotia RCMP financial crimes expert Sgt. Andrew Joyce told The Journal last fall. “Fraudsters and scammers operate 24/7,” he said. “We’re all vulnerable and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live ... Bottom line: You can’t drop your guard.”

The policing report also noted that incidents of mischief in the municipality were up by seven to 21, compared with the 2022 period – followed by petty theft (to three, from one), theft of “Other MV/Motorcycle” (to two, from zero) and possession of stolen goods (to one, from zero).

Under “crimes against persons”, there were 10 reports of assault (down four, from 2022), and five, each, of criminal harassment and uttering threats (each up from zero). There were three reports of drug trafficking (from zero), one of possession (up one) and 48 reports of vehicular speeding (compared with 38).

RCMP reported 360 “crimes and occurrences” in MODG during the last three months of 2023, compared with 317 in the comparable year-earlier period.