Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

'Tis the Season....for scams

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It's a familiar scenario - a greedy Grinch takes advantage of the public's collective goodwill in an attempt to stuff their own proverbial stockings.

I'm sure many of you have been victimized. I was, a few years back, by the crying con artist who later came to be known as the "Scam Maam".

The following heads-up was sent my way this week by a frustrated reader who wanted to let the public know about the latest ruse going around town.

Consider yourself warned!

"Hi Mike, I just wanted to alert you of a conman who accosted my brother near the Walmart, Home Depot, and Superstore parking lot on the SE corner of Lagimodiere and Regent. This occurred December 15, 2008 at approx 8 PM as my brother, Richard, was parking his van.

A man, decently dressed, clean shaven, no scars, no missing teeth, about 6 ft tall, approached and identified himself as Tim Unrau (a fine Mennonite name) and requested $20 for gas to enable him to get to his house in Lac du Bonnet.

He explained that his wallet had been lost or stolen and he currently only had $10 in his possession. He had a white Ford Ranger that was parked just around the corner. He wasn’t in any way belligerent and kept repeating that he didn’t want to be a bother. He stated that he needed his birth certificate, drivers license, and social insurance card as they were gone with his wallet.

My brother decided to engage him in conversation and after talking for 5 or 10 minutes, there were more questions than answers. Richard asked where in LdB his house was, and the reply was "346 First Street" which didn’t make sense as First Street in that town is quite short.

Eventually my brother recommended that he go to City Hall for a cash infusion, but monsieur correctly pointed out that it was evening. My brother countered with a suggestion that he could at least go to Salvation Army and enjoy a fine meal, and at that the applicant politely walked away.

I firmly believe that there should be a column dedicated to exposing scams, be they local, national, or international. This would help educate and prepare the public for dealing with these situations. This column would also detail the problems and hassles that can occur from these fraud artists and hopefully convince government to tackle this plague.

Thanks, Larry Giesbrecht"

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About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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