Police warn about grandparent, emergency scams

Police warn about grandparent emergency scams

An increasing number of incidents involving Grandparent and Emergency Scams has prompted Brantford Police to issue a warning to area residents, particularly senior citizens.

Police say this type of fraud involves someone calling the victim and claiming that a family member is in a crisis situation – such as being in an accident or having been arrested — and needs money sent immediately.

“Sometimes a second call will be made from someone pretending to be a lawyer or police officer,” said Robin Matthews-Osmond, communications manager for Brantford Police. “Scammers will advise the victim that payment for bail or a fine is required to have their loved one released.”

Often the caller attempts to impersonate another family member, or the relative in crisis.

The fraud suspects will arrange to pick up the funds in person via a courier or will ask that cash be sent by mail if the victim agrees to pay the requested amount.

In 2022, the amounts requested have ranged from $9,000 to $20,000.

“The victims are often told they cannot talk about the investigation with anyone and advised that they will go back to jail if they talk about it,” Matthews-Osmond noted.

Police stress the importance of fraud education to prevent becoming a victim and encourage people to talk to their elderly family members who may be targets of high-pressure scams.

To protect yourself, police suggest that you take time to think about the circumstance despite a sense of urgency from the caller.

Contact the family member in question and ask questions only that relative would know.

You should also call a trusted family member or friend for their opinion about the call.

If you suspect the call is part of a scam, end the call and do not send any money.

Brantford residents who believe they may be a victim of fraud should contact Brantford Police at 519-756-7050 and your financial institution right away. You can also file a report online at www.brantfordpolice.ca/online-reporting

If you wish to report a fraudulent call that has not resulted in a loss of money, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501 or at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraud.ca/index-eng.htm