Grandparent scam targeting seniors


99091_Fraud_Alert

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is warning the public about a sudden rise in the number of Grandparent Scams being reported in the community.

What is a Grandparent Scam and how does it work?

The Grandparent Scam is a type of emergency scam that uses urgency and manipulates emotions in order to extort money from the victims. In most cases, the fraudster cold calls the victim pretending to be a family member in an emergency situation and they need money immediately. Sometimes, the person will pretend to be a police officer or lawyer calling on behalf of their loved one and will demand money to cover fines, bail, or legal fees. The victims are sent to their bank to get the cash and are either told to send it in the mail, or that a courier will come to pick it up. This is a scam.

They tug at the heart strings and try to get the victim to act quickly, states Constable Chris Terleski, Media Relations Officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. Talk to your family members about this, especially the elderly ones. The key to prevention is awareness.  We need to get the word out so people can recognize what’s happening and put an end to it before it gets started.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Ask for the name rather than offer it;
  • Ask for help from a member of your family or a trustworthy friend;
  • If the person is saying a family member is in trouble, confirm with another family member first even if they tell you not to tell anyone;
  • If the person claims to be police or a judge, call that police service or court house directly to confirm that situation;
  • Don’t feel pressured to send money immediately;
  • Don’t disclose personal financial information.

If in doubt, hang up and do not continue communication. Anyone who suspects they have been targeted in a phone or computer scam is encouraged to contact their local police, and also the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.