The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are asking the public to be on alert, regarding an ongoing stranded motorist scam.
The OPP continues to receive complaints from motorists, who have stopped to help individuals posing as stranded motorists, offering to exchange gold jewelry for cash.
How does the scam operate?
According to the OPP, scammers will park along the side of 400 series highways, ramps or in parking lots. The scammers pose as stranded motorists, seeking 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 repairs. The scammers claim their wallets have been lost or stolen, OPP say.
The individuals are usually well dressed and well-spoken and are operating rental vehicles. According to the OPP, the scammers offer to give the good Samaritans expensive looking gold jewelry in exchange for money 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, say the OPP. 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).