Wednesday 27 June 2018


Many years ago, I was scammed out of $2,000. It was my own stupidity that resulted in me being scammed. I will tell you how it happened.

The Scam

A phony organization advertised that we (the public) could spend a night in a cottage for free in Wasaga Beach which is an hour’s drive north of Toronto in the province of Ontario. . The area is a popular place to visit in the summer months.  

The only condition of the freebee was that we had to attend a seminar for an hour the following morning, 

During the seminar, we were told that we could rent three bedroom condos in vacation locations world-wide for as little as $50.00 a night. Now that was a great incentive for us to continue listening to the blather we were being given. There was however, a catch—aren’t there always a catch?

We would have to pay $50,000 for that privilege. Not only would that offer be valid to us during our lifetimes but it would also be available to our children during their lifetimes.

I asked it the organization was registered with TICO. (Travel Industry Council of Ontario)  TICO governs the travel industry in Ontario and it will cover any losses any traveler occurs when a travel plan goes bad.

The speaker at the seminar replied, “Of course.”

There was no way that I was going to pay $50,000 for that so-called privilege, however, one couple agreed to pay $40,000 and their offer was accepted.  

I offered to pay $2,000 for that privilege for five years. My offer was accepted.

A week later, my oldest daughter called the number she was to call and she and two of her friends stayed at a three-bedroom condo in New Your City for a week and they only paid  $350 American for the seven-day stay.

I was excited so a month later, my wife and I wanted to travel to another country for a two-week vacation so I called the number we were to call. I got a message that the number was no longer in service. After investigating further, I learned that the company was no longer in business.        

No problem. I would call TICO and get my refund from them.

Oh Oh. I should have asked for proof from the speaker that the company was listed to TICO. He wouldn’t have been able to provide that proof because they were NOT registered with TICO. I blew away the $2000 because of my stupidity of not making sure that they really were registered with TICO before I parted with my money.

The only good news about this horrible event was that the owner of the company, (who was the speaker) was sent to prison for a year.

The only other time I was scammed out of my money was in March of 1952. It happened on the last day I was at the Canadian navy boot camp in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. One of the men in our division asked me for ten dollars. He said that when we go to the Navy base on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, he will look me up and repay the loan. It turned out that he was going to the navy base in Halifax in Nova Scotia. I never saw him or my money again. The loss of ten dollars ($503.00) in today’s money really hurt because I was so stupid to give him the money in the first place. I have never ever loaned any money to anyone again other than to my wife. There is a valid saying that says, “Give money to a friend and you will lose the friend.”

For years, I was receiving at least two phone calls a day from so-called duct cleaning service companies. At first I was amusing myself with their calls because when they told me who they were, I would then ask the following question—“Since you clean ducks, do you also clean chickens? If so, please come right away as we are having friends over for a chicken dinner.”  When the caller would then say that they don’t clean chickens, I would then reply, “Well then there is no reason for me to continue this conversation.” Then   I would hang up the phone.

After a few years of this kind of conversation, I was bored so I contacted my phone provider (Rogers) and they told me that if the following words UNKNOWN NUMBER appears on the screen, let the phone stop ringing and press the Star sign and 77 and that caller can longer  reach your number again.

If on the other hand, you are foolish and you invite someone from the so-called duct cleaning company to your home, you will be cheated. I will explain how. 

Every day, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) fields complaints about "blow and go" companies offering prices as low as $40, but they add charges on-site for mold remediation and various products by using aggressive sales tactics.

"From the moment they pull up to your house, they're looking for ways to upsell you," says NADCA executive director John Schulte, adding that duct cleaning should actually cost at least $400 and it will take two people about four hours to clean all the ducts  for an average home.

if you type in Dahn Batchelor’s Opinions TELEPHONE SCAM RE INCOME TAX DEMANDS, you will be able to read an extensive scam that is being thrust on millions of people.

How to protect yourself from scammers

Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them: If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don't use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.

Don't respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus which will give them your passwords and personal details.

Keep your personal details secure. Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

Review your privacy and security settings on social media. If you use social networking sites, such as Facebook, be careful who you connect with and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe.  If you recognise suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take steps to secure your account and be sure to report it.

Beware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust. Don't agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

Be careful when shopping online. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust. Think twice before using virtual currencies (like Bitcoin) - they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it. 

Clues for spotting a fake document

  • generic rather than personal greeting
  • names of organisations that don't exist
  • poorer quality presentation
  • poorer quality grammar and spelling
  • overly official or forced language.

Documents such as flight itineraries and bank statements have simple, uncomplicated layouts even when they are legitimate because such businesses allow their customers to print online statements. This means that scammers can easily create fake documents by using information available online such as company logos and graphics from websites. The scammers simply download the official documents and change the internet address where the victims send the information the scammers.  This is why I insist that my creditors send me the printed documents.

Clues for spotting a fake email document

Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email, using the same logo and design as the real company.

Often your guard is down when you receive an email from a company you've dealt with before or an online shopping site you use. If you're not expecting an email from those firms, always be alert to fake messages before clicking on any links or opening any attachments. To be doubly sure, contact the firm to verify if they sent the message but don’t use the number that was in the email document.

Other kinds of scams

Offers from a law enforcement agency to investigate your scam and retrieve your money for a fee. Law enforcement agencies do not charge for their services

A doctor calling you to alert you that the scammer urgently needs medical bills to be paid or they might die

A woman contacting you to explain she is the scammer’s wife and wants to escape him but needs money to do so.

A person saying that he is representing a loved one claiming that he is your loved one’s lawyer and your loved one is under arrest and needs bail money to be released.

These are only a few of the follow up approaches scammers may use try to get more money from you. New approaches could be quite different from the original scam and could come quickly or sometime later. Scammers may have passed your details to other scammers who use entirely different methods and the new approach may seem totally unrelated to the original scam.

Unless you know the source of the messages you get on the phone or in your email; be very suspicious of them even if they appear to be legitimate. 

And now that I have your attention, can I interest you in buying some land in Florida. The specific property is very private so you won’t have noisy neigbours pestering you. I will give you a hint as to where in Florida it is located. It is in the centre of—well does the name, Okefenoke ring a bell?

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