The Caledon Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning residents of an increase in reports of emergency/grandparent scams. In the last two incidents, the scammers targeted seniors by playing upon their emotions and fear of a loved one being in police custody.
On December 3, 2022, a grandmother received a phone call from someone posing as a police officer requesting $8,000 in cash for a bail hearing. The amount was paid in full to an individual that attended her residence prior to realizing this was a scam.
On December 6, 2022, a grandfather received a phone call advising his grandson was in police custody and requested a $10,000 cash payment for his release. A call-back number was provided since the grandfather advised that he needed to speak to his daughter first. Speaking to the daughter confirmed that the grandson was not in custody. She proceeded to calling the call-back number and was answered by an individual claiming to be a police officer. Through the conversation, it became apparent that the individual was not a police officer and the call ended.
In each case the suspect knew intimate details about the victim’s family member. These details are commonly gathered from social media.
In the typical emergency/grandparent scam, the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one. The caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap like a car accident, in police custody, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away. The scammer will often insist that the victim does not tell anyone. The call could also involve someone claiming to be a law enforcement official, lawyer, or bailiff.
Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and dating sites. They can search your online accounts to find real names, real interests, real phone numbers and when you are going to be home or away.
Be aware of some warning signs:
• Urgency: The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
• Fear: The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance, they may say, “I am scared, and I need help from you.”
• Secrecy: The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”
• Request for Money: Money can be requested by money transfer or in some cases the scammer sends someone to your home to pick up the payment.
To avoid becoming a victim, check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or email.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an emergency or grandparent scam, or any other scam report it to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-
Learn more about common scams in Canada and tips and tricks for protecting yourself:
• Little Black Book of Scams: https://competitionbureau.gc.
• Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: Browse scams (antifraudcentre-
The OPP is working to increase public awareness of fraud-related crimes. The OPP Provincial Auxiliary Program is proudly supporting the work of OPP detachments across Ontario by delivering fraud education to the communities they serve. To request a presentation, contact [email protected].
On February 21, 2022, at 6 p.m., the “Fight Fraud” presentation will be delivered at the Caledon East Public Library. Event details are available at: https://engagedpatrons.
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