Members of the Huntsville and Bracebridge Detachments of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are investigating multiple grandparent scams in the Muskoka area.
OPP is warning residents of an increase in reports of emergency/grandparent scams. Scammers are targeting seniors by playing upon their emotions and fear of a loved one being in police custody.
On April 11th 2023, grandparents in the Town of Bracebridge, received a phone call from someone posing as their grandson stating he was in police custody and required $10,000 to be released.
On April 12th 2023, a grandmother, in the Town of Huntsville, received a similar call stating their grandson required $5000 to be released.
In both cases victims spoke to someone they believed to be a police officer and was instructed to attend their bank and withdraw cash. A male would than attend their residence and picked up the cash. In the Huntsville incident the male was described as white, 5’10”, dark hair and was wearing a blue surgical mask. It is believed the male was dropped off or had a vehicle parked near by. The victim did not observe a vehicle parked out front their home.
In the typical emergency/grandparent scam, the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one. The caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap like a car accident, in police custody, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away. The scammer will often insist that the victim does not tell anyone. The call could also involve someone claiming to be a law enforcement official, lawyer, or bailiff.
Be aware of some warning signs:
· Urgency: The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
· Fear: The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance, they may say, “I am scared, and I need help from you.”
· Secrecy: The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”
· Request for Money: Money can be requested by money transfer or in some cases the scammer sends someone to your home to pick up the payment.
To avoid becoming a victim, check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or email.
Police are asking the public to talk to their parents, grandparents and neighbours about this scam and what to do if their called. Police are suggesting if you receive a call like this to hang up the phone and contact family members.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an emergency or grandparent scam, or any other scam report it to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!