Police in Halton urge vigilance following recent rise in grandparent emergency scams
A Halton Regional Police cruiser is seen in this undated image. (Twitter/Halton Regional Police)
Published Thursday, October 6, 2022 5:29PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 6, 2022 5:55PM EDT
Halton police are warning residents to be cautious following a recent rise in “persistent and increasing” grandparent emergency scams across the region.
Police said typically those scammed are older people who receive a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild and in need of money immediately due to some kind of trouble like a car accident or being put in jail.
“Some victims may get calls from two people, one pretending to be their loved one and the other acting as a police officer or lawyer,” Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) said in a news release.
“The caller will ask the potential victim a series of leading questions which prompts them to volunteer personal information.”
Usually the suspect(s) will ask for the money to be delivered in cash to a “bail bondsman” or an “employee of a law firm/court,” investigators said.
“Victims often don’t verify the caller’s story until after the money has been given to the fraudster,” they noted.
Halton police are urging anyone who believes they were contacted by a fraudster to call them at 905-825-4777 or 911, if it is an emergency.
They’re also advising people to not lie to a bank teller if retrieving cash.
“Employees are trained to assist you in recognizing possible frauds,” police said.
Police also remind people to try to verify a caller’s identity and not volunteer any information, and further ask very specific probing questions about the caller.
Another suggestion is to ask the initial caller to call back and instead notify local police or the purported agency in question to clarify the situation. Anyone who is unsure, is advised to ask the police for help.
Police are also urging potential victims to try to contact their loved in question directly to clarify the matter with them.
“Remember - Fraudsters will count on your good will to act quickly and help a loved one,” police said. They advised potential victims to take their time and follow the tips provided by authorities.
“Police, lawyers and the court will never ask you to give money to someone at your door,” HRPS said.
From Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 42 emergency scam reports where people, usually older adults, were defrauded of more than $520,000. Of the 42 reports, 22 were from Ontario with losses totalling more than $115,000.
Additional information on frauds and scams can also be found online.
Anyone with information about a fraud should contact the Regional Fraud Bureau Intake Office at 905-465-8741 or Fraud@haltonpolice.ca, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.