When we see someone in need, most people will offer help, but the OPP is warning motorists of a scam that could lead to hardship when you give a helping hand.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) continues to receive complaints from motorists, who have stopped to assist individuals posing as stranded motorists, offering to exchange gold jewelry for cash.
How does the scam operate?
Scammers will often park along the side of 400 series highways, ramps or in parking lots. Scammers pose as stranded motorists, seeking the goodwill and compassion from the motoring public.
They create an emergency scenario, often indicating that they are visitors to the area or country, who require funds for gas or emergency vehicle repairs. The scammers claim their wallets have been lost or stolen.
These individuals are typically well dressed and well-spoken and are operating rental vehicles. They offer to give the good Samaritans expensive looking gold jewelry in exchange for funds needed to assist with the fabricated emergency situation.
In some cases, victims have provided significant funds only to discover later that the gold is fake. In many cases, victims are too embarrassed to come forward because they don’t want to admit that they were fooled.
How to prevent becoming a victim?
The scammers pose safety concerns by parking their vehicles on the sides of busy highways and ramps. The OPP urges motorists to be cautious, avoid stopping to talk to these individuals and notify police of suspicious activity. If you do encounter these scammers, offer to contact roadside assistance rather than exchange funds for jewelry, then leave the location.
Anyone with information should contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).