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District 3 spurns medic-related scam calls

Scams are everywhere.

But an attempt to swindle you really hits home when someone calls to say you no longer will receive medical attention unless you give them money.

Just ask Esther Chambers of Sequim. She is a caregiver for an elderly Sequim couple.

Chambers helps with day-to-day activities. Recently she found herself taking the phone away from the man she helps when he became agitated on a call.

"Telemarketers and scam artists call weekly, sometimes twice a week, promising money if we send money first," she said with a sigh.

"But this one was different. They said (emergency medical technicians) would no longer be able to serve this couple unless they bought into some new service."

Chambers and the couple were unable to get a company name from the salesman but contacted Clallam County Fire District 3 to see if the call was a hoax. It was, and District 3 Assistant Chief Allen Knobbs said they did the right thing to check.

"There is no chance that an EMT or paramedic would not treat someone in the district," Knobbs said.

"Being on duty we have a legal obligation to respond and being paramedics we have a moral obligation to respond."

Knobbs said the district is more than willing to field calls if residents feel they are being scammed by an emergency medical- or fire-related request for money or information.

"At first, it was surprising to me to hear how many people are victims of financial scams from the phone or Internet in this area," he said.

"But these scammers tend to target the elderly and Sequim is nationally known as a destination retirement community."

Knobbs suggested researching phone solicitors' offers, but Chambers had a different idea.

"I just hang up and that's what I tell others to do," she said.

"They try to bring you in with threats to your medical service or promises of money and credible agencies do not do business this way."



Reach Evan McLean at

emclean@sequimgazette.com.



Where to go to make a report or get help in the event of a scam or fraud case:

_ Local authorities, such as Sequim Police, 683-7227, or Clallam County Sheriff's Office, 417-2459

_ The Washington Better Business Bureau, 206-431-2222

_ Attorney General Rob McKenna's office, 360-753-6200

_ Consumer Protection, 800-551-4636



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