The Russell County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding members of the public to be mindful when receiving phone calls and to recognize the signs of fraudsters.
The OPP is warning the public that there remains an increase in reports of emergency/grandparent scams. The scammers target vulnerable persons and seniors by playing upon their emotions and fear of a loved one being hurt or in trouble.
A frantic phone call
In the typical emergency 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, such as a car accident, 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.
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 e-mail.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an ’emergency’ scam, contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). You can also report the information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.