The OPP continue to get calls from people fooled by con artists who pretend to have vehicle trouble. The “stranded traveller” scam takes place along the side of a major highway, an off-ramp, or in a parking lot. The fraud depends on the con artist getting the sympathy of the victim who just wants to help out someone in trouble on the road.
The con artist pretends to be someone visiting the area, either from another province or another country. They claim that their wallet or purse is either lost or stolen and they need money to buy gas or deal with a mechanical problem with their vehicle.
These con artists appear polite and well spoken, and are dressed well. They may have a rental vehicle as part of the scam.
When they ask for the loan of money to help them get their vehicle fixed, they offer what appears to be a piece of expensive gold jewelry. The victim discovers later that the “gold” jewelry is costume jewelry but by then the con artist has gone.
Most victims are too embarrassed to report the incident. Police advise people to be cautious when asked to help someone who claims to have vehicle problems. Offer to call roadside assistance or the police rather than accept any offers of collateral in exchange for money. If the person declines the offer then leave the area and report the incident to police.