Recently the Wellington County OPP received a local report of a fraud known as the emergency scam or seniors scam.
The recent case involved a male on the phone claiming to be the victim’s nephew who was in trouble and needed money immediately.
The victim sent approximately $3,000 and later discovered that it wasn’t his nephew that called and that he had been scammed.
In most cases of the emergency scam, a grandparent receives a phone call from a scammer claiming to be one of the grandchildren.
Callers state that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. They claim to have been in an accident, or are having difficulty returning from a foreign country, or need bail money.
Sometimes two people will call, one claiming to be the grandchild and the other claiming to be the lawyer or police officer.
The “grandchild” will ask questions, getting the victim to volunteer personal information. They will often say they don’t want other family members to know what has happened.
Victims are asked to wire money through a money transfer company. Often, victims don’t verify the story until the money has been sent.
In some cases, scammers pretend to be old neighbours, a friend or a friend of the family, but generally it is directed at grandparents.
Police are asking people to protect themselves and prevent becoming a victim of this scam, using the following information:
– scammers are counting on victims to act quickly;
– never send money to anyone not known and trusted and always verify who the person is;
– do not give personal information to the caller; and
– ask questions to verify callers identity.
Anyone suspecting they – or someone they know – has become a victim, should report the crime to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.