Emergency-Grandparent scams are on the rise

HALDIMAND—The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to warn the public about Emergency-Grandparent scams targeting individuals in the Niagara Falls Region and western Ontario. 

From January 1 to February 16, 2024, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has received reports totalling over $491,000 in victim losses associated to the Emergency-Grandparent scams. In 2023, the reported losses totalled $11.3 million, with Ontario residents representing over $4.6 million.

Emergency-Grandparent scams occur when a senior receives a phone call from someone who impersonates their grandchild to gain credibility with the victim. The caller will claim to be in trouble with police and will request money to get released on bail. Often, they will say they were in a car collision and drugs were found in the vehicle or they are involved in a motor vehicle collision where the other driver has suffered serious injuries.  

The “grandchild” will tell the victim they do not want their parents to know and ask the victim to keep it a secret, or that there is a gag order. To make the story seem more credible, the caller might also put another person on the phone to act like a police officer, bail bondsman, or lawyer. The victim, wanting to help, will withdraw funds from their bank account.  

The scammer will arrange for a courier to come to the victim’s home to collect the money. On other occasions, the money is sent through a money transfer service where the scammer can then pick it up at any location across the world.

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To learn more about the Emergency-Grandparent scams and other frauds visit antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca. Remember: if you become a victim to of a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.