West Vancouver senior the Lower Mainland's latest victim of bail money scam, police say
An 82-year-old West Vancouver man was recently bilked out of $5,000 in the latest iteration of a bail money scam that has been targeting seniors around the Lower Mainland.
The West Vancouver Police Department said in a news release that the victim received a call on Thursday, Jan. 20, from a man who claimed to be his grandson.
The scammer claimed that he had been arrested and needed bail money, handing the phone over to another man who claimed to be the grandson's lawyer, according to the WVPD.
"The fraudsters were able to convince the victim to withdraw $5000," police said in their release.
"The victim then received another phone call stating that someone would attend his residence to collect the money. Within minutes, a suspect showed up at the victim's door and took the cash."
It's the fourth such incident police in Metro Vancouver have reported this month.
On Jan. 14, the Vancouver Police Department reported two instances of residents in their 70s receiving calls from scammers claiming a relative was in trouble and needed a large sum of money for bail.
In each case, someone met the victim at their door to collect the funds.
Similarly, the Delta Police Department announced last week that it had arrested a 22-year-old woman from Quebec in connection to a scam that defrauded a local grandmother out of $10,000.
In that instance, the scammers called back the day after getting away with the $10,000, this time demanding $25,000. The victim was suspicious and called police, who were waiting at her home when the scammer arrived to collect the money.
The arrested woman, Marie-Jeanne Belanger, is facing one charge of committing fraud over $5,000, according to Delta police. She was released from custody on Jan. 17 with "a number of conditions," police said.
Both the Delta and Vancouver police departments have said they are working with other agencies in the region to determine whether the incidents in their cities - and others reported elsewhere in the Lower Mainland - are connected.
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to West Vancouver police to ask whether they believe the latest incident is related to the other iterations of the scam, and whether they're working with other jurisdictions on the investigation. This story will be updated if a response is received.
Police describe the suspect in the West Vancouver case as a white man in his late 20s with a slim build and dark brown, medium-length hair. He stands roughly 5'9" tall and was wearing dark clothing and sunglasses at the time of the incident, the WVPD said.
“What’s concerning about this incident in particular, is that the fraudster attended the victims’ residence to collect the money,” said WVPD spokesperson Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, in the release.
“Typically, victims are asked to send the money via an online transaction, with no in-person meeting. This tells us that (scammers) are becoming quite brazen in their approach.”
Anyone with information on the West Vancouver fraud should call the WVPD at 604-925-7300 and cite file number 22-636, police said. Tips can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.