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Emergency Grandparent scam on the rise: OPP

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said the Emergency Grandparent scam is on the rise. Sept. 14, 2023 (CAFC) Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said the Emergency Grandparent scam is on the rise. Sept. 14, 2023 (CAFC)

During the first six months of the year, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has received reports totalling a staggering $9.2 million in victim losses associated with the Emergency-Grandparent scams.

With just over four months remaining in 2023, it is anticipated this year's losses will exceed the 2022 reported losses, which totalled $9.4 million.

"The numbers don't lie. Losses associated with Emergency-Grandparent Scams are devastating to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Our police services are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we stop these crimes before they happen," said Chief Jim MacSween with the York Regional Police.

It is estimated that only 5-10 per cent of victims report scams and frauds to the CAFC or law enforcement. According to the CAFC, seniors lose, on average 33 per cent more than other demographics.

Emergency-Grandparent scams occur when a senior receives a phone call from someone who impersonates their grandchild in order to gain credibility with the victim. The caller will claim to be in trouble and will request money right away from the victim. They will often say they were in a car collision with a rental car or they are under arrest and jailed in another city or country.

The false grandchild will tell the victim they do not want their parents to know and ask the victim to keep it a secret. To make the story seem more credible, the caller might also put another person on the phone to act like a police officer, bail bondsman or lawyer. The victim, wanting to help, will withdraw funds from their bank account and wire money to the "grandchild."

The money is often sent through a money transfer service, where the scammer can pick it up at any location worldwide. The scammer might also arrange for a courier to collect the money from the victim's home.

"One of the ways to combat fraud is to arm ourselves with knowledge, information and awareness. The OPP and our partners encourage everyone to learn about the Emergency-Grandparent frauds through information being made available to protect yourself and to share these with your elderly loved ones to help protect them. Together, we can lessen the impact of fraud on our communities," said Det. Super. Mike Bickerton,

The Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Canadian Bankers Association have partnered on an audio presentation to raise awareness about Emergency-Grandparent scams.

The 20-minute audio presentation  features crime prevention experts discussing this type of fraud and sharing tips on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from this scam.

Learn more about the Emergency-Grandparent scams and other frauds. If you fall victim to fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur. Top Stories

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