The Winnipeg Police Service is warning the public after a dramatic increase in the number of “emergency” scams seen across Canada in 2021.
On Friday the Police released that there were 457 reports of the scheme, titled the “Grandparent Scam,” in Canada throughout the first half of this year with many cases impacting Manitobans.
The “Grandparent Scam” is when a fraudster calls seniors pretending to be their grandchild or another family member. The fraudster then claims they have been arrested and need bail money or need financial help in an emergency.
Another variation of this scheme is when the fraudster pretending to be a representative of the relative, such as an attorney.
Once the elderly victim has been convinced, the scammer will send someone to pick up money. Police said, in some cases, ride-share drivers have been used to take the cash.
Police said there have been 136 victims in 2021 so far, totaling around $1.1-million in losses Canada-wide.
Prevention for this Scam
The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) provided helpful tips and are encouraging Manitobans to speak with their elderly relatives about these scams:
- If a phone call demands money or require immediate action, contact the relative back or reach out to another family member to confirm if it is real.
- Don’t give out personal information such as addresses and birthdates over the phone. Ask the caller to provide details. WPS said some families use code words to confirm their identity.
- Be wary of caller IDs. WPS said scammers can disguise the number they’re calling from and appear as a trust number.
WPS wanted to ensure that law enforcement and other legal agencies will never make urgent requests for money or request highly personal information.
Police are asking that victims of emergency scams to report the crime because it could help recover losses and protect the community from future schemes.
Police emphasize the importance to document all information about the fraud including receipts and to contact police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. This article was originally sourced by NTV News.