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BPS issues warning about new grandparents scam

Brantford Police ServiceBPS issues warning about new grandparents scam

The Brantford Police Service is advising older adult residents after becoming aware of a new version of what is referred to as the “Grandparent Scam” targeting older citizens via text messaging.

A text message is sent to the victim, from a scammer who is posing as the victim’s son or daughter. The text often starts with “Hi, Mom,” and continues to tell the victim that their phone has been damaged, they cannot access their banking information and need money urgently. They then ask for an e-transfer of funds. If questioned about the email address of phone number being used, the fraudster will often tell the victim that they owe money to a loan shark or are using a borrowed phone.   

Additionally, in other versions of the “Grandparent Scam,” reports have been received where suspects have falsely identified themselves as a Brantford Police Officer and/or an R.C.M.P officer. If a member of the public ever has a concern regarding the identity of an officer, their identity can be confirmed by contacting BPS at 519-756-7050 with the name and badge number of the individual in question. 

Grandparent or Emergency Scam – What is it?

This type of fraud occurs when the fraudster contacts the victim, claiming a family member is in crisis and needs money. Although the fraudster can claim to be any family member (e.g., aunt, uncle, child) or friend, grandparents may be particularly vulnerable. 

A call or a text is made from someone claiming the victim’s child, grandchild or family member is in trouble. They have even been reported to impersonate the child, grandchild or family member. Often, they say that they have been arrested or involved in a collision and need money. Usually, the victim is instructed to send money immediately. 

Sometimes a second call will be made from someone pretending to be a lawyer or police officer. Scammers will advise the victim that a payment for bail or a fine is required to have their loved one released. If the victim agrees to pay the requested amount, suspects will arrange to pick up the funds in person with a “courier” or will ask the victim to send cash in the mail. The victims are often told they cannot talk about the investigation with anyone and advised that they will go to jail if they talk about it.

The Brantford Police Service wish to remind residents of the importance of fraud education and protecting oneself from becoming a victim. We also encourage spreading the word to those, such as the elderly, who may be particularly vulnerable to these fraudsters and may be targets of these high-pressure scams.

TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • Take time to think. The fraudster will make it sound urgent and will pressure you.
  • Contact the family member in question. Emotions may be running high but take the time to check.
  • Ask questions only family members would know.
  • Call someone you trust or police for an opinion about the call. 
  • If you suspect it is a scam, it may be – just hang up. Conduct your own research to determine validity.
  • Do not send any money.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud and reside in the City of Brantford, contact the Brantford Police Service at 519-756-7050 and your financial institution immediately. You can also report online at: https://www.brantfordpolice.ca/online-reporting 

If you have not experienced a financial loss but have received a fraudulent call, such as the Grandparent scam, please report the incident by calling the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraud.ca/index-eng.htm 

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