Elgin County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) continues to warn residents of the
Grandparent / Emergency scam which is again making its way around the province.
On September 18, 2013 at around 10:00 a.m., a 70 year old West Elgin woman received
a phone call from a male party saying he was her "grandson" and he had just been
in a car accident in London, Ontario and was being held in jail for the incident.
He went on to say that he been in a collision with a family from Lima Peru and the
Judge in London was not going to let him out of jail unless he paid for the damages
to their vehicle totaling $3,992.67. The male informed the woman not to contact
his parents and the money had to be wired to Lima, Peru.
Believing that the male was her grandson, the woman went to her bank and got the
money and wired it to Peru via Western Union.
Later that day the woman spoke with her grandson who informed her that he was home
all day in and had not been in a collision. Attempts to have the wire transfer stopped
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud
Centre (CAFC), is warning people about this scam or variations of this widespread
"Emergency Scam" or "Grandparent Scam".
Traditionally operating as a telemarketing scam throughout North America, fraudsters
contact potential victims while posing as a family member or friend in urgent need
of cash. Often the scenario involves an accident or arrest, with a request that
cash be sent through a money transfer company, such as Western Union or Money Gram.
In a recent variation of this scam, compromised contact lists from hijacked email
accounts are used to send the potential victim an "urgent" email request for money
from a friend or relative with whom they have a correspondence. Common themes continue
to be hospitalization or imprisonment. The friend or relative is unaware that their
account has been used to send out these requests to everyone on their contact list.
Protect yourself; remember, scammers are counting on the fact that you will want
to act quickly to help your loved ones in an emergency.
- Never send money to anyone you don't know and trust.
- Verify the person's identity before you take any steps to help.
- Scammers usually want you to keep things confidential; this should raise your suspicions.
- Don't give out any personal information to the caller.
- Investigate by asking the person questions that only your loved one would be able
Call the child's parents or friends to verify the story.
- Ask yourself, does the caller's story make sense?
- Educate your relatives, friends, and neighbours about this scam.
The OPP strongly suggests that anyone receiving a request for money takes measures
to verify the requestor's identity and the truthfulness of their story.
What should I do if I have been scammed? You should report the matter immediately
to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at www.antifraudcentre.ca
as well as contacting your local police service.
Formerly known as Phonebusters, the CAFC was established in January 1993 and is
jointly operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police
(OPP) and the Competition Bureau Canada.
Visit their website at a class="normalblue" href="http://www.phonebusters.com">www.phonebusters.com.
Specific information on the "Emergency Scam" can be found in "List of Scams".
OPP Contact Information