PEEL Regional Police Fraud Bureau are reminding senior residents, and other family members, of a scam that is becoming popular once again within the Region of Peel – the “Grandparent Scam” or “Emergency Scam”. As the names implies, the targeted victims of this scam tend to be the elderly.
The scam involves a phone call being made to the victim, by an individual claiming to be their grandchild. The suspect tells the victim that they are in some kind of trouble, and need immediate financial assistance. They impress on the victim, this is urgent and they do not want any other family members to know.
On occasion, the suspect may advise that they are a lawyer/attorney representing a relative.
There are many variations to this scam and can include:
- Being in a car accident;
- Being arrested for drunk driving;
- Being trapped in another country and unable to leave; and
- Being in a hospital.
The victim is provided with specific instructions on how to send the money, usually by a wire transfer. In this manner, the money is sent to another location, either inside or outside of Canada.
Victims of this scam typically do not verify what they have been told until after they have sent the money. It is at this point that the victim realizes that the relative is safe and unharmed.
Peel Police would like to remind our residents that, in the event they receive a call similar to this, that they should verify the details of the request through another family member. Any requests for money to be forwarded by wire transfer, by a previously unknown person, should be treated suspiciously.
Here are some other tips to remember:
- Residents with elderly family members who live alone, or have listed phone numbers, should make them aware of this scam.
- Residents in general should be cognizant of the fact that there are many scams out there, including internet and phone scams. Request for money transfers should be treated with caution and an appropriate amount of due diligence should be practiced.
- Any time someone calls you about an emergency; it is important to try and remain calm and independently check with a friend or relative before taking any action.
- Education is the key to the prevention of this type of scam. To learn more about this scam, and other scams affecting Canadians, residents are encouraged to visit www.antifraudcentre.ca (* Note: the Antifraudcentre is a national call centre that gathers and reviews fraud reports from within Canada in order to determine trend).
Anyone who has any information regarding this fraud is urged to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3335. Anonymous tips can also be left by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca.