In November 2023, numerous elderly residents in Eastern Ontario have fallen prey to a fraudulent scheme known as the “Grandparents Scam,” OPP report.
Reports surfaced last week from locals in Grenville County, highlighting instances where individuals had either lost money or were on the brink of doing so. The Grenville County Ontario Province Police (OPP) disclosed that victims were coerced into urgently sending money, purportedly to aid a family member. In cases where victims lacked transportation, scammers offered to dispatch someone to collect payments directly from their homes.
Police have issued cautionary advice to families with older relatives, urging them to engage in conversations and counsel their loved ones on verifying requests by reaching out to family members first or contacting law enforcement if suspicions arise.
Some of the warning signs include:
- 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 — Money can be requested by money transfer or in some cases the scammer sends someone to your home to pick up the payment.
Individuals who suspect they or someone they know might have fallen victim to such an “emergency” scam are encouraged to reach out to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Alternatively, information can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).