Laura West was duped and is embarrassed.
"I was so mad that I could have been conned like this," she said.
But she took to Facebook, called all her friends and family, and then stood before a room full of reporters to admit what many are too shamed to do—she is a victim of fraud.
While running errands on a day off, she got a call from a crook posing as a travel agent from a major airline. She was promised a luxurious all-inclusive seven day vacation in Mexico, plus a cruise with the possibility of a balcony suite. The getaway was so fantastic—for her, it was like three years' vacation in one.
"It looked like, hey, this is going to be a cool deal," she recalled with candour.
But she had to act fast. This seemingly stellar bargain was only good for the day. The charming voice on the phone asked for her charge card number and to approve any credit card company warnings that might pop up.
"She said it was because it's coming from Mexico, because it's a foreign country," said West.
The crooks were so convincing, West is now out $2,680.00
"Don't forget, these are professionals, their full time jobs. This is organized crime," said Danielle Primrose of the Better Business Bureau
In fact, the consumer advocate considers vacation fraud one of the leading scams in Canada.
"It's so hard to get over the shame," she said. But West said she came forward to spread the word and warn others.
There’s evidence such brave actions works. The BBB said the Canadian Revenue Agency scam where thieves threatened to send people to jail if they didn’t pay up is finally starting to go away because so many people shared their stories.