GRANDPARENT FRAUD:
A FREQUENTLY-USED PHONE SCAM TARGETING SENIORS

Officers from the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) want seniors to know about a type of fraud that specifically targets them, known as grandparent fraud, and also called need cash urgently.

This is how the scheme typically takes place:

  • The fraudster contacts a senior person, pretending to be a relative.
  • The caller asks the person whether they recognize them.
  • When the senior responds with the name of the person they think is on the phone, the fraudster uses that identity to establish a bond of trust with the person.
  • The caller then claims to be in trouble, either here or in a foreign country, to be in an untenable situation, to have been arrested, to have had an accident or even to be injured.
  • The caller then says he/she urgently needs money to solve the problem.
  • They then ask for a wire transfer or cash. Sometimes they may ask someone else to do this, even someone claiming to be their lawyer.
  • The fraudster takes advantage of the senior’s emotional reaction to the situation to get money from them, begging them not to tell anyone.

The SPVM wants to remind seniors and their loved ones of prevention tips to help protect them and inform them of possible recourses if fraud does happen.

PREVENTION TIPS

  • Be on the lookout for this fraud technique. Consult the A-Z Index of Scams on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website, under “Emergency”.
  • Be very alert to any caller asking you if you recognize them. Instead of answering, ask the caller to identify themselves.
  • Ask personal questions that only the person they are pretending to be knows the answer to, such as their place of birth, a family memory, etc.
  • Ask for the person’s phone number to call back, or tell them to phone you back later so that you can verify. If in doubt, hang up.
  • Take the time to verify the information the person has given you by calling a family member, a close caregiver, or your local police department, even if they have begged you not to tell anyone. Never transfer or hand over money, even if you are urged to do so and told it is urgent.

Remember that no one can force you to give money. You always have the right to say “no,” even to someone close to you.

TO GET HELP OR TO REPORT FRAUD

In the event of fraud, you can file a complaint with your local police department. To contact the neighbourhood police station in Westmount (PDQ12), call 514 280-0112. For any emergency, call 9-1-1.

You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to report a fraud by calling 1-888-495-8501 or by visiting the Centre’s website at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.





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