Ottawa police say a man and a woman from Montreal are facing fraud charges in connection with so-called “grandparent scams” that have allegedly defrauded victims of more than $46,000.
The fraud involves someone calling an elderly person and claiming to be a grandchild who is in serious trouble and needs money immediately, usually for bail. The caller is often pretending to be crying, making it harder to understand them, and there is a sense of both urgency and secrecy around the demands. The targets are then encouraged to withdraw cash, which is later picked-up by a courier.
Ottawa police say they’ve received 10 reports of such scams in recent months, with victims losing more than $100,000.
An investigation by Ottawa police and Morrisburg OPP resulted in two people being charged in connection with five reported events.
Jason Goulet-Fernandez, 22, and Danielle Jimenez-Golez, 19, are facing charges of fraud over $5,000, possession of proceeds obtained by crime, and conspiracy to commit and indictable offence. Both were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
Police released photos of the accused Tuesday, in order to identify any other possible victims. Police also said the suspects were using a black, four-door 2007 Honda Civic bearing Quebec plate Z15 XPL.
Anyone with information about these incidents or may have been a victim of fraud is asked to contact the Organized Fraud Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5292.
Sgt. Chantal Arsenault of the Ottawa Police Service organized fraud section says the grandparent scam is very devastating to victims.
“These fraudsters are very convincing, and they will prey on your fear,” Arsenault said. “If this is happening to you, you really need to stop and question if this is real. You need to make the phone call to your grandchild or your sons and daughters before giving out any money. If in doubt, call the police, call a friend, or neighbour.”
Arsenault says if you have any elderly parents, grandparents, friends or neighbours, talk to them about the risk these scams pose.
“You need to make them aware that this is happening,” she said.
She added that if you fall victim to a scam, it’s important to tell police.
“We understand that this can be extremely upsetting and some people may be embarrassed to report it but please report it. It might help solve other cases and lay more charges.”
–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Katie Griffin.