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Increase in “Grandparent Scam” Cases in the Outaouais | SPVG News Release

Press Release, PDF

Gatineau, May 26, 2022. – The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) would like to warn the public about a scheme that appears to be spreading within its territory, known as “grandparent scam”.

Quick facts

  • Between May 11 and 25, 2022, the SPVG received 15 complaints concerning the “grandparent scam”. In 14 of those cases, residents were cheated out of thousands of dollars. – The amounts with which the fraudsters absconded ranged from $4,000 to $10,000.
  • The victims were between 60 and 94 years of age, so all old enough to have grandchildren.
  • In every case, the fraudsters’ modus operandi was the same:
    • A suspect calls the victim, claiming to be the latter’s grandson, son-in-law or granddaughter’s spouse and indicating that he needs help.
    • The suspect claims to have been involved in a car accident, and to have hit someone (generally a pregnant woman), and to have been arrested by the police. – In some cases, the individual pretending to be a family member, indicates that he admitted to the police that he had been using his cell phone at the time of the collision.
    • The caller explains to the victim that he is only entitled to one phone call, and that he will not be able to talk much longer. He asks the victim for help to pay the bail so he can get out of jail, and asks that the victim not tell anyone about it. He hangs up after adding that a lawyer will be contacting the victim.
    • A second suspect then calls the victim, claiming to be the lawyer representing the person claiming to be a family member. He mentions that he needs a certain amount of cash to pay the bail. He asks the victim to go withdraw the money and not to mention to the teller that it’s to pay bail because in that case there would be lots of documents to fill out, which would take too long.
    • Once the victim has the cash, the latter should get in touch with the lawyer, who then indicates that a bailiff or an officer of the court will stop by the victim’s home to collect the money. – Shortly thereafter, a person appears at the victim’s home and leaves with the money. – In some cases, the suspect may arrange to meet in a public place to ensure the victim’s peace of mind.

Bail payments

  • To pay bail in Gatineau, a person must go to the police station, the Hull sector jail, or the Clerk at the courthouse, where an employee will give the person an official receipt.
  • In no case should the money be handed in an envelope to anyone claiming to be a lawyer, bailiff or an officer of the court if you are not at the wicket at one of the locations mentioned above.
  • Also, bail cannot be set by police at an amount over $500. Moreover, this measure is only applicable to someone residing beyond a 200 km radius of Gatineau or in a province other than Quebec.
  • Only a judge can set a higher bail.
  • It is important not to rely on the telephone number appearing on the display, even if it is that of a trusted organization or family. There are apps that fraudsters can use to display any number they want to help convince the victim.

Prevention tips

Nobody is safe from scams: anyone, without any exception, is a potential target for fraudsters. However, because of the wealth they may have accumulated over the years, and in some cases their vulnerability, older people are preferred targets for fraudsters. The following tips may help keep you from falling into their traps:

  • Be sure to ask the person calling a few questions to validate their identity. Those questions should be neutral and sufficiently specific or personal to make it impossible for the fraudster to guess the answer. No information such as first names should be suggested because the fraudsters could use that information to confuse their victims (e.g. “Antoine, is that you?”).
  • Always double-check. If the person claims to be a family member, it is best to try to reach that person using the phone numbers at which you generally call them.
  • No money should be transferred. Fraudsters will try to convince their victim any way they can, and will create a sense of urgency to push the latter to hand over the money as quickly as possible without checking out the situation.
  • No personal or bank information should ever be provided, even if the caller claims to be a friend or family member.
  • When in doubt, it is always best to call the SPVG at 819-246-0222.

 

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Published by Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau
Source Andrée East Agente relationniste Service de police Ville de Gatineau @policegatineau

 

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