Toronto resident charged in telephone ‘grandparent’ scam in Kingston, Ont., police say

Kingston Police vehicle in Kingston, Ont.

Police in Kingston, Ont. are issuing a warning about an on-going telephone scam known as the ‘grandparent’ scam, following the arrest of a 27-year-old Toronto resident.

The individual is charged with one count of attempted fraud over $5,000 in connection to an investigation into a telephone scam, according to Kingston police.

No other information about the investigation was released.

“Police have received an increase in reports regarding this scam,” police said in a media release Saturday afternoon.  “This type of scam generally targets senior citizens by contacting them via telephone and informing them a member of their family, often a child or grandchild, has been arrested, often following a supposed car accident.”

Police say the scam will see the initial caller pretending to be a grandchild, and claim they have a cold or COVID as a way to explain the change in the sound of their voice.  At some point, the victim will be passed on to another person purporting to be the grandchild’s lawyer, and that person will say they need cash to be sent to get the grandchild released on bail.

Kingston police say in recent occurrences, the ‘lawyer’ claims that they will send a ‘bailiff’ to pick up the money once the victim has withdrawn the cash from the bank.

“A legitimate courier company is then contacted by the suspect and hired to pick up a parcel from the victim, who has been instructed to place the cash in a shoe box,” police said.

“The courier then unknowingly facilitates the scam by transporting the money to a different location, where it is retrieved by someone involved in the scam.”

Police say cash is never requested for bail, and you should never send money by courier.