Submitted by Sgt. Darren Kakuno
Columbia Valley RCMP
This past week, December 3rd through December 9th the Columbia Valley RCMP responded to 44 calls for service. The following are some of the more notable files our officers responded to.
• On Friday, December 7th, an Invermere resident reported falling victim to a telephone scam. The homeowner received a telephone call from an individual who claimed to work for BC Hydro. The caller told the homeowner his account was overdue and his power would be cut off if he didn’t pay off his debt with prepaid Visa cards. The homeowner purchased prepaid Visa cards and provided the card details to the individual over the telephone as directed. After complying with the demand the homeowner became suspicious of the request and contacted BC Hydro only to find out there were no issues with his account. In this case, the homeowner realized he fell victim to a scam early enough that he was able to cancel the pre-paid cards. There are a number of scams going on at any one time. Many of the scams involve a request to pay an organization with prepaid cards. Legitimate businesses do not accept prepaid cards in lieu of payment. If you receive a phone call or email advising you owe money it is imperative to investigate the legitimacy of the request before you send any money or disclose any personal information.
• On Sunday, December 9th, officers located a stolen Chevy Cruze parked at a residence on Village Loop Road in Invermere. The vehicle, which had been reported stolen in Calgary, was towed to the Columbia Valley Detachment where it will be forensically examined for further evidence. Anyone with information about this stolen vehicle is asked to contact the Columbia Valley RCMP.
• On Sunday, December 9th, an abandoned 911 call was received by Columbia Valley RCMP. The cell phone was mapped to a general area in Windermere. After further investigation officers were able to identify the owner of the cell phone who told officers he had given his disconnected cell phone to his children to play with not realizing that inactive cell phones can still call 911. From January to December of 2018 the Columbia Valley RCMP received 325 false or abandoned 911 calls. Many of these calls are from inactive cell phones that have been given to children to play with. Every abandoned 911 call is investigated which ties up valuable resources. Here are a few points to remember:
• If you inadvertently dial 911 stay on the line and speak to the operator. Even if you think you’ve hung up on time, the call will go through and the operator and police officer will need to determine if there is a real emergency.
• Keep cell phones out of the hands of children. Even deactivated cell phones can make 911 calls.
• Lock the keypad before you place your cell phone in your pocket or purse.
• Do not program a single button on your phone to call 911.