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Published December 13, 2022

Grandparent scam in Wasaga Beach

Multiple incidents were reported in one day
OPP

News release - from Huronia West OPP

Members of the Huronia West Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are issuing a warning and seeking the public's assistance in relation to an emergency scam, also known as the grandparent scam, investigation in Wasaga Beach after multiple incidents were reported in one day.

In one of the reported incidents, which occurred on the morning of December 9, 2022, an elderly victim was contacted by someone who identified as their grandson, and claimed they had been arrested and required $10,000 for bail. The victim also spoke to another male during the call, who claimed to be a police officer. The second male confirmed the arrest and advised he would send someone to the victim's home to collect the bail money. The male posing as a police officer provided a code to share with the individual collecting the money to ensure it was received by the correct person. Approximately 15 minutes after the call, a male attended the victim's residence and collected $5,000. Later in the day, the victim received another call from a male who identified as a police officer advising they would be following up with the victim to collect the remaining $5,000.

Members of the public are cautioned that officers would never attend a residence to obtain bail money.

Investigators are seeking the public's assistance to identify the male who attended the victim's residence.

The male is described as:

·      20-25 years of age

·      White

·      Approximately 6" tall

·      Medium build

·      Dark short hair

·      Clean shaven

·      Wearing dark-coloured dress pants, dress shirt and a dark jacket

Multiple similar incidents have been reported in Wasaga Beach and surrounding areas. Members of the public are asked to speak to their grandparents and vulnerable loved ones about protecting themselves from becoming a victim of fraud.

Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Huronia West OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or ontariocrimestoppers.ca.

EMERGENCY SCAMS

(The Little Black Book of Scams, Competition Bureau Canada)

Emergency frauds, also known as the grandparent scam, usually target loving grandparents, taking advantage of their emotions to rob them of their money. The typical scam starts with the victim receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. The "grandchild" goes on to say they're in trouble-common misfortunes include having been in a car accident, charged with an offence or in legal peril, or trouble returning home from a foreign country-and they need money immediately.

The scammer will advise the victim that a payment for supposed bail, legal fees or fine is required immediately. If the victim agrees to pay the requested amount, the caller will ask the victim to send cash in the mail or through courier services. They'll also swear the victim to secrecy.

This deeply concerning trend has suspects obtaining the victim's address, and physically attending the residence to collect the funds, posing as a courier or representative of the court.

One variation of this ploy features two people on the phone, one pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbour or a family friend in trouble.

Tips to protect yourself:

·      Take time to verify the story. Scammers are counting on you wanting to quickly help your loved one in an emergency.

·      If you receive a suspicious phone call claiming to be from a family member in an emergency situation, hang up the phone and contact them directly.

·      If the caller claims to be a law enforcement official, hang up and call your police directly.

·      Ask the person on the phone questions that only your loved one would be able to answer and verify their identity before taking steps to help.

·      Never send money to anyone you don't know and trust.

·      Never give out any personal information to the caller.

·      Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and dating sites for targeting purposes. Suspects can easily gather names and details about your loved ones.

·      Listen to that inner voice that is screaming at you: "This doesn't sound right."

·      Be careful with caller ID numbers that look familiar. Scammers use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from (spoof) and make it appear as a trusted phone number.

If you know an elderly person, please reach out to them and have a conversation on what to do if they get a phone call like this.

For more information on this and other common scams in Canada, check out the Competition Bureau Canada's The Little Black Book of Scams: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html

For additional information on ongoing scams in Canada and to report fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact police.

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