OPP is warning residents, in particular seniors, to be wary of the ‘Emergency Scam’ following a recent case where a couple are now out $1,000 after falling victim to the scam that is sometimes referred to as the Grandparent Scam.
This particular case followed a similar script that has happened to many other victims all over Canada. The couple, a female in her late 70’s and a male in his 80’s received a call from someone pretending to be their grandson who said he had been in an accident and had been arrested and now his lawyer wanted to speak with them.
At that point the scammer told them their grandson had been out celebrating, got into a car crash, sustained a broken nose and was arrested for blowing just over the legal limit. He also stated the judge felt sorry for their grandson because he was a nice boy and was going to release him if he paid for the damaged vehicle. All they had to do was pay $2,500 and their grandson would be released from jail.
The lawyer instructed the couple to not tell anyone because the judge didn’t want it to be known that he was going to release their grandson. The victims went to the bank and wired $2,500 to the account number that was provided to them.
After the money was transferred the couple was able to get a hold of their actual grandson and quickly learned they were scammed. Fortunately for them they were able to recover some of the transferred funds but at this time they are still out $1,000.
The female victim is hoping others will hear about this scam and ultimately will hang up the phone when such a call is received.
Police are urging people to be aware of some these warning signs:
Urgency – The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
Fear – The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.”
Secrecy – The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”
Request for Money Transfer – Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own bank institution.
To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information BEFORE sending money or providing credit card information by phone or e-mail. It is vitally important that the incident be reported every time it occurs, to allow police to investigate and prevent others from becoming victims.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of the “Emergency/Grandparent” scam, contact your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or on the web at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm