Police report Grandparent Scam increased by 40% last year
OPP along with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and RCMP are raising awareness about the significant increase in emergency and grandparent scams targeting Canadian seniors.
In 2022, fraud reports totalling a staggering $530 million in victim losses were reported - nearly a 40 per cent increase from the 2021 unprecedented $380 million in losses.
It is estimated that only 5-10 per cent of victims report scams and fraud to the CAFC or law enforcement.
Emergency scams, including variations called "grandparent scams", use urgency and the manipulation of emotions to extort money from victims. In these scams, fraudsters cold call seniors, on landline phones, claiming to be a grandchild, family member, law enforcement officer or lawyer calling on behalf of their loved one. They'll say that the person's loved one was involved in an emergency situation, such as a collision, charged by law enforcement, legal peril, being sick or injured, etc. They demand the senior provide payment immediately for supposed bail, legal fees, fines or other amounts "owed" to stop the family member from going to jail or to get them released from custody. This is a scam.
The fraudsters isolate the victims by informing them that there is a court-imposed gag order, and they're forbidden from discussing the matter. The victims are directed to attend their financial institution to withdraw the requested amount in cash. The fraudsters will then send someone to pick it up from the victim's home or have the victim send the money via courier services.
- If you fall victim to a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and also 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.
- If you know a senior or have an elderly family member, please reach out to them and have a conversation on what to do if they get a phone call like this and consider coming up with a code word.