Chatham-Kent police warn public of 'grandparent scam'

Chatham-Kent Police Service Headquarters in Chatham, Ont., on Thursday, June 16, 2022. (Submitted to CTV News Windsor)

The Chatham-Kent Police Service is warning the public after two local citizens fell victim to something known as the “grandparent scam.”

According to a press release issued Saturday morning, Chatham-Kent police said they received an additional two calls regarding the grandparent scam on Friday. In one case, an elderly woman from Wallaceburg, Ont. withdrew $5,000, and in a second case, an elderly woman from Dresden, Ont. withdrew $10,000 after being conned by scammers.

The scam works by a scammer pretending to be the victim’s grandchild, law enforcement, or a lawyer representing the victim’s grandchild.

Scammers then claim they or someone they love is in police custody and are facing criminal charges, and then ask the victim to immediately transfer them money for legal purposes. They may also tell the victim not to tell anyone about the transaction.

Chatham-Kent police are asking the public to be vigilant and to educate loved ones who might be vulnerable.

Other local police departments have been warning the public about grandparent scams due to a recent uptick in reports, including the London Police Service, St. Thomas Police Service, the Sarnia Police Service and Lambton County OPP.

Chatham-Kent police said, “Scammers will use panic, threatening language or an aggressive tone to scare you into making payments.”

If in doubt, police recommend being suspicious of urgent requests for money, verifying the story first by contacting other family members, and never sending funds in uncertain conditions.