OPP warn ‘Grandparent scam’ is still active in eastern Ontario

OPP East Region Headquarters in Smiths Falls. Kingstonist file photo.

The East Region of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding the public to be aware of ongoing frauds and scams. One such scam, the “parent or grandparent” telephone scam has resurfaced.

A statement from Kingston Police, released about a month ago, stated that they had received a few calls over as many days, mostly from elderly residents, reporting that they are being asked to send $1,000 to $1,500 dollars to bail out children or grandchildren who have been arrested for Impaired Driving.

On Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, the Upper Ottawa Valley OPP Detachment received a report from an individual in the Pembroke area who had been also targeted by the emergency scam.

According to a release from OPP, the victim received a call advising that her daughter had been involved with police and was in custody. The scammer was attempting to make arrangements for the release of their daughter and said that $9,000 needed to be sent immediately to facilitate the court process. The scammer identified himself as a police officer.

OPP said that the victim then spoke to someone on the phone who was crying, claiming to be their daughter, who requested this be kept secretive as to avoid further trouble.

The victim did not transfer the money and contacted several family members to get assistance with this suspicious call, according to the release. Subsequently, the victim contacted their daughter and confirmed she had not been involved in any such incident.

As a reminder, OPP provided some red flags to identify frauds and scams:

  • Often times, there will be a request not to tell anyone, to keep it a secret to avoid further trouble
  • Request for gift cards or cryptocurrency
  • Urgent request for action or information
  • Request for banking information
  • Unsolicited attempts at selling products or services

OPP also included tips on how to protect yourself:

  • Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and dating sites for targeting purposes.
  • Be suspicious of telephone calls that require you to immediately take action and request bail money for a family member in distress. Contact the family member directly for confirmation.
  • Be careful with caller IDs that look familiar. Scammers may use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from (“spoof”) and make it appear as a trusted number.
  • Never give personal identifiable information or money to anyone you have only communicated with by telephone or online.

Remember: fraudsters are sneaky and sly.

OPP encourages anyone who feels they may be the target of a scam, or if you know of someone who has, to contact local police and/or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca

Anyone having information on the above incidents or any other crime is asked to call SD&G OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or you can submit a TIP online at www.ontariocrimestoppers.ca

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