An RCMP officer who was attending a bank on unrelated police business learned that a senior citizen was withdrawing a large sum of cash to send to a grandson in trouble while away on a trip. The RCMP officer and bank staff were able to convince the senior to contact family members and confirm some facts. It was later learned that it was indeed a scam.
Though the "Emergency Scam" (or sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam") has been around for years, the RCMP led Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center (PhoneBusters) warns the public to be on the lookout after noting a marked increase in the number of complaints in the last two months.
In the typical scenario, a grandparent receives a phone call from con-artist claiming to be one of his or hers grandchildren. The caller goes on to say that they are in some kind of trouble, usually a car accident, returning from a foreign country, or even bail money and need money immediately.
Victims don't verify the story until after the money has been sent as the caller specifically asks that they do not want other relatives to know what has happened by asking "Can you please help me? I'm in jail (or in the hospital / or in some type of financial need). But don't tell Dad. He would kill me if he found out, please sent the money ASAP. I'm scared"
The CAFCC (formerly called PhoneBusters) was established in 1993 and is jointly operated by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Competition Bureau Canada. The CAFCC is a national call center where people can report fraud complaints and the information is used to assist in investigations. The CAFCC plays a key role in educating the public about specific fraudulent mass marketing and identity theft pitches. It also helps to prevent similar crimes from taking place in the future through its ability to identify emerging trends. To report a fraud call 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.recol.ca
Be vigilant. Protect yourself and your family. Resist the pressure to "act now". Don't panic. Know with whom you are dealing. Ask for his/her name and coordinates and confirm them for yourself or request assistance from a member of your family or somebody you can trust. Contact your local police to help you or to verify the legitimacy of such telephone calls. Be wary of unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or mail attempting to extract money from you or asking you to transfer money electronically urgently. Fraud - Recognize It. Report It. Stop It.