Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2005

Canadian scam comes to Baldwin

June 16, 2005

Although television news magazines have been warning the country about scams out of Canada, few think about that happening right here in Baldwin City. Well, it can and has -- almost.

Baldwin City Police Chief Mike McKenna was called regarding a Canadian scam letter that landed in the lap of a 43-year-old Baldwin man recently. There was a check for $4,900 and the promise of another $311,000, just for providing bank account information.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Too good, actually, and this Baldwin resident knew it.

"He realized right from the get-go it was a scam," said McKenna. "But, we both agreed that if someone received an identical letter and needed money, that they could be caught up in the trap and lose any other monies they might have."

The check, of course, was no good. But, that wouldn't have shown up for a few days. Meanwhile, had the bank account information been given out, the letter-receiver would also be out whatever he had in the bank.

"Yes, it can happen here," he said. "But, it goes back to what I've said for years and that is the only reason you can be conned is if you let them con you. No one can play the game unless you play.

"There are several tip-offs to it that shows it's a scam," McKenna said. "We'd be interested to know if anyone else in Baldwin has received like mailings. They need to be alert and please contact the Baldwin City Police Department."

Also, the long-time law enforcement officer knows that people are often embarrassed when they've been conned. They tend not to report it. That helps it perpetuate, he said.

"People tend to believe that the victims of sexual crimes are unlikely to report it because of the embarrassment and people that are caught up in financial crimes are often too embarrassed to contact the police and make us aware of it," said McKenna. "My policy has always been that for people who have been financial raped are kept is as strict of confidence as someone who has been sexually assaulted."

Because of the lack of reporting and the lure of easy money, the con does work. That's what keeps it going.

"Yeah, it does work," said McKenna. "That's the unfortunate part of it."

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