New Scam! Fraud Alert! Contractor's Beware!
New Scam! Fraud Alert!
Contractors BEWARE: (Humboldt , Saskatchewan)
We drill water wells in Saskatchewan, and I received an email, what seemed like a standard inquiry. Took the address regarding the inquiry, discussed water needs. It was a local property in the area, and they pretended to be a new owner. I requested speaking to the person on the phone and when I called the number, no one answered. When the call was returned it came up on my phone location as being dramatically different from what it was expecting. It came to us as New Kensington PA, USA. This was strange! This was the first thing that raised caution. I received text messaged saying the person was in an appointment at the moment but would like to go ahead and drill and will contact me shortly. I sent the contract papers, price papers for signing, land owners’ signature if different than the registered owner. I received signed paperwork back for the property in the name of the projected client and acknowledge of costs for this projected drill.
I requested a site visit to ensure the equipment can fit, make contact with the owners on the properly, then the excuses started. This raised alarms for me. Who drills and commissions any work without meeting prior? Instead they wanted me to go ahead and bill the clients Visa card and sent me a photo of some 61-year-old lady’s id with an address that did not match the calling number. When I tried to call the owner, again no answer. Rather text message and I stated I needed to speak to the owner of the card. Instead a man pretending to be her husband called with terrible broken English. I called visa to verify the card, when it could not be verified, I reported it stolen. The visa intake number was useless. Visa would not cancel the card. Visa said there was nothing they could do but direct me to her bank and gave me the number to her local bank. I called the woman’s bank and explained that I believed her card and id was stolen. The woman at the bank was also not very helpful. I explained that she had a duty to contact the owner of the card and let her know that someone is using her ID. Address. Drivers number and Visa card to try to bill approx. 14,000 totals in two visa charges. The bank lady said there was NOTHING she could do. I called the visa office again transferred to the visa scam department because I did not feel like this info was right that nothing could be done. The scam intake was really meant to report scams for owners not contractors to report cards and number stolen on behalf of the client. They took my name and info, and nothing could be done. I also got angry at Visa and told them they have a duty to protect their client. She apologized and said there was nothing she could do.
I called the local RCMP detachment and left a message because no one picked up. Again, 3 days later I called them, explaining that no one returned my call. This time I was told again that there was nothing they could do. I explained that other contractors could be getting calls regarding the same property. The detachment asked if I spoke to the real owner, which I did not because I did not want to show up at their door step. The lady at the detachment gave me a number in Ontario to call regarding the fraud attempt.
Instead I called the town office, I also called ISC office in town to get the actual legal land location, lot and block number to the site and registered name. When it became undeniable that I had a fraud attempt I called the Ontario Scam Department and opened a file and I was able confirm each of the details of the event. I shared the Visa number and ID, address and contact number, driver’s license number, date of birth. I was asked to see if I could collect another visa #, which I was able to get from the person texting. I eventually collected enough info to contact the owners of the property. The property was advertised on a well-known real estate site. When the listing came up as sold the pressure was on for the scam to fit the timeframe. The new owners new nothing of the scam. I contacted the real estate agent who was appalled, and I let her know I filed a report with the RCMP and the Ontario Scam department. Some information should be shared in the event a contractor shows up to do work or shows up to collect on debts.
What frustrates me most is that so little can be done. Visa would not address it nor alert the owner of the card. Her own bank said they cannot call her unless she calls them. The visa lady told me that “times are tough for many and it is likely their income”. In honest truth, I swore at her and told her “she was clearly part of the problem with that attitude. This poor woman’s Identity is likely stolen and things likely are being charged to her, ruining her life and we all have a duty to help her even if we don’t know her and see it is happening”.
A week later, the caller called back and tried to persuade me to run another card number and provided the id of an older middle-aged man. I called the scam department again and gave then this information as well.
This type of contractor’s call, anyone could have gotten at any amount. Smaller amounts would have been overlooked by some.
Wolverine Drilling Inc.