I just got off the phone with the Ottawa Police to report an attempted phone scam trying to siphon $300 out of me. Here is what happened.

I received a call this evening (a Saturday) from someone who identified himself as Richard Dinoso claiming to be calling from the City of Ottawa’s Department of Motor Vehicles. He was calling for Mr. or Mrs. Ross. The first clue of a scam. Our phone’s listed in my wife’s name.

According to Mr. Dinoso, our car had been photographed speeding through a red light. The ticket is $300. However, at midnight tonight it would double to $600. He was calling as a courtesy to prevent me having to pay the increased fine.

I challenged him on a few points.

First, I said I thought a ticket should be mailed to me and I haven’t received one. He said yes though it was very recent so it may not have arrived, yet. Then I asked what the license plate of the vehicle is. He replied that it’s confidential. “That’s weird,” I said. “You’re calling my house to report to me a violation involving my vehicle. How come you can’t verify my plate for me?” He refused, insisting my plate is confidential. So, I asked him who the vehicle is registered to. He gave my wife’s name.

“Oh,” I said. “Problem solved. Our vehicle isn’t registered in my wife’s name.”

“I beg to differ,” he replied.

When I asked him to describe the vehicle, he said it was a sedan. I’m pretty sure he hung up at that point. I hung up quickly after that as well. Star-69 on my phone returns “We’re sorry. The number cannot be reached by this method.”

I reported the scam to the City of Ottawa. The clerk then transferred me to the Ottawa Police. They thanked me for not falling for the scam and told me that since I hadn’t been defrauded, I need to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, +1-888-495-8501. They’re closed until Monday.

Don’t fall for this scam!

Feature photo: LED traffic lights uploaded to flickr by jpwbee.

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