‘Clever’ 90-year-old Saanich resident evades vitamin phone scammer

Police warn of phone scammers claiming to be from the Regional Health Authority

A 90-year-old Saanich resident caught on quickly when a scammer tried selling her vitamins over the phone.

On Jan. 22, the woman received a call from someone who claimed to be from the Regional Health Authority tasked with talking to seniors in the community about the benefits of vitamins. The caller tried to sell her some “natural vitamin B products.”

READ ALSO: Victoria man charged after dog killed

Saanich police say the woman was “savvy” and quickly realized the call was likely a scam. She asked, “aren’t all vitamins natural?” and the scammer hung up.

The woman reported the scam to the police and described the caller as a man with a strong accent. He’d called from a number with a 289 extension which police traced to Hamilton, Ont. Police tried to call back, but the number was out of service. When they searched it online, the number had been connected to similar scams where the caller would claim to be from the Regional Health Authority.

Island Health confirmed to police that their staff do not solicit people over the phone and have asked that anyone who receives these calls report them to police.

READ ALSO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

Saanich police emphasized that the woman was “clever” and didn’t provide the caller with her personal information. In an effort to avoid having other residents fall victim to the scam, she hoped police could warn others.

Any unsuccessful frauds or scams – where no personal information was given and no money was lost – can be reported to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501.

Visit the Government of Canada’s website for more information on avoiding scams.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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