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Elderly homeowners targeted in scam

May 23 2012

Saanich Police are warning of a door-to-door scam targeting elderly people that left one 88-year-old man cheated out of $15,000.

Police are investigating a possible link between four incidents in Saanich, Central Saanich and Oak Bay that involve victims - some with dementia - being offered pressure washing services, then paying inflated prices or left with incomplete work, said Saanich police spokesman Sgt. Dean Jantzen on Tuesday.

The most recent incident occurred in Central Saanich on May 17, when an elderly woman paid hundreds of dollars for power-washing and painting that was incomplete.

Other homeowners in the neighbourhood had their driveways power-washed at a reasonable rate, but the woman was overcharged, Central Saanich police said. The two workers even insisted the woman escort them to the bank to get the cash up front.

In Saanich on May 13, an 88-year-old man lost $15,000 in a similar scam. He was offered power-washing and resealing for his driveway, and money was requested for materials. His credit card and debit card were stolen in the process and were fraudulently used. No charges have been laid.

"We've seen this on more than one occasion, where these frauds lead to thefts, and we believe what happens is there is a bit of diversionary tactic and the fraudster enters the home and heads for the purse or wallet and takes the cards," Jantzen said.

In several of the files, victims were given the name Kevin Gordon and company James Bay Power Washing.

The alleged fraudster is described as a white male in his 30s, about six feet tall with a slim build. He is also described as having tattoos on his arms and possibly neck.

"We expect that there are other people that perhaps have been victimized out there in our community in Saanich, and we do want to hear from caregivers or family members or victims themselves if they have been victimized by a similar situation like this," Jantzen said.

No charges have been laid in the cases and police are still investigating.

mkaralis@timescolonist.com

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