Kingston Police remind public of ongoing ‘grandparent scams’ after arrest for fraud

Kingston Police are sharing the story of a recent arrest in the hopes it will serve as a reminder to the public to beware of a currently common practice being employed by fraudsters.

Photo by Lucas Mulder.

The so-called ‘grandparent scam’ is a fraudulent scheme devised around emotional extortion. Both Kingston Police and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have issued warnings of such scams, and both agencies have previously made arrests connected to the schemes: Kingston Police in May of this year, and the OPP in June of this year. Both of those arrests occurred within the KFL&A region, but the scams continued to occur, as evident in this most recent arrest.

According to Kingston Police, on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022, a Kingston resident received a call from someone claiming to be her grandson. The ‘grandson’ claimed to have been arrested, and promptly handed the phone to another person. The second person to speak with the complainant purported to be a narcotics detective, who claimed that the woman’s grandson had been in a car that was stopped by police. That car, the ‘narcotics detective’ said, had other occupants within it, and drugs had been found in the vehicle. The person claiming to be with law enforcement then stated that, as a result of the incident, the complainant’s grandson had been charged, and $8,000 was required in bail in order for the grandson to be released.

The complainant was then instructed to withdraw $8,000 in cash from her bank, and told that a courier would be sent to pick up the money. The complainant agreed to do so.

After the phone call, the local resident – the complainant – called her son, the father of her grandson in question, and informed him about the call. Her son confirmed that his son – the complainant’s grandson – was currently at home, and advised his mother the call had been a scam. The complainant’s son instructed his mother not to send any money, and then contacted Kingston Police to advise them of what had happened.

After speaking with police, the complainant’s son agreed to go along with the suspect’s request in order to see if an arrest could be made, Kingston Police said in a press release on Thursday, Jul. 7, 2022.

According to police, at approximately 12:40 p.m., detectives from the Kingston Police Criminal Investigations Division placed themselves in the lobby and parking lot of the complainant’s building, as the complainant had been instructed to await the courier coming for the money in the lobby.

Nearly three hours later, at approximately 3:25 p.m., the suspect ‘courier’ walked to the parking lot on the south side of the complainant’s building and looked around while talking with someone on the phone. After some time, the suspect approached the complainant, waved ‘hi’, and took the envelope she had from her.

The suspect began to walk away and was then arrested by awaiting detectives. The suspect provided police with false identification repeatedly, and was then taken to Kingston Police Headquarters. There, the suspect eventually provided their true identity, which was confirmed, according to police.

As a result, a 22-year-old individual from France was charged with attempted fraud over $5,000, and obstructing police.

“Kingston Police wish to warn the public that the ‘Grandparent Scam’ has been used with increasing frequency by scammers. In these calls the scammer will call the victim, who is generally a senior, and advise them that their grandchild is currently in jail. The scammer will state that they are a lawyer and require a large sum of money to help get them out of jail,” Kingston Police said.

“They then will send a courier to recover the funds. If you have been the victim of a similar scam, please contact Kingston Police, and if you receive one of these calls, please hang up on the scammer immediately.”

The general number to report a crime to Kingston Police is 613-549-4660.

One thought on “Kingston Police remind public of ongoing ‘grandparent scams’ after arrest for fraud

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!