Date: Aug 12, 2022
Author: Senior Constable Terry SEGUIN
** Important Information on Grandparent or Emergency Scams **
The LaSalle Police Service is asking the public to be vigilant, as the service has received a number of reports of “grandparent” and “emergency” scam calls from residents. This scam tends to target the elderly and preys upon their deep care and concern for their family in order to scam them out of their hard-earned dollars. Many of our older relatives and friends may not use social media and we are asking everyone to share this information with them and let them know how not to fall victim to this type of scam. Awareness is key to prevention.
The “grandparent” or “emergency” scam begins after the victim receives a call from a person posing as their grandchild or another family member. “The caller may say, Grandma or Grandpa, it’s me…” What they rely on is that you identify who they are such as saying “Jane, is that you?” They will reply “Yes grandpa it’s me, Jane.” If you say that it doesn’t sound like you. “Jane” may reply that she had an accident and hurt her mouth which is why she sounds different.
“Jane” will go on to tell you that they have been arrested and need bail money or that they have been in an accident and need financial help, or that they are traveling and have gotten into some sort of trouble and can’t get home and needs financial help.
They may present you with any sort of emergency situation where time is of the essence and they need the funds right away or the situation will get worse.
“Jane” may even have an accomplice who will pose as a “police officer” or “lawyer” who will speak to you over the phone and advise of the severity of the situation, the funds required to resolve the matter, and the manner in which to transfer the funds. This tactic makes the entire situation even more believable and it is easy to get caught up and anxious in wanting to help your beloved relative in any way you can.
“Jane” will ask you to keep the call private and not alert other family members about the fake situation out of embarrassment or not wanting to alarm anyone else.
Regardless of the request to keep this situation private, and even if you feel fairly certain of the caller’s identity, one of the most important things to do is to ALWAYS double-check with family members BEFORE sending any money to anyone in a situation like this. Once the money is sent, it is too late and nearly impossible to track and you could be out thousands of dollars.
Please note that the police will never ask you to send money through a courier, by way of gift cards, bitcoin, or Western Union.
If you receive a call that one of your family members is in trouble and needs bail money, please contact the police and NEVER provide personal information over the telephone, text, or email.
Here is a video from the Toronto Police Service showing how the scam is accomplished.
Approved By: Staff Sergeant Michael FOREMAN
LaSalle Police Service
1880 Normandy Street, LaSalle, Ontario N9H 1P8
Phone (519) 969-5210
Fax (519) 969-2662
Duncan DAVIES, Chief Of Police