'They took advantage of an elderly lady': Nanaimo woman loses $14K in 'Grandson' scam
The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VICTORIA -- A Nanaimo senior is out $14,000 after she fell prey to a “Grandson scam” earlier this month, say Nanaimo RCMP.
Mounties say the victim, 80, was first called by the scammers in early September. Over a period of nine days, scammers told the woman that her grandson had been in a car accident in Montreal and that he needed bail money to get out of jail.
At least three people were involved in the phone scam, including one man who posed as her “grandson,” one man who pretended to be the “grandson’s lawyer” and another who impersonated a police officer.
The “lawyer” informed the woman that her grandson required $7,500 to make bail and that she was asked not to tell his mother about the incident.
She was told to transfer the money through shipping company Purolator to an address in Montreal, which she sent. Later that same day, the “lawyer” requested another $6,500. After sending both payments, police say the calls continued until Sept. 9.
At this point, the victim was growing suspicious of the situation and called police while stopping communication with the scammers.
“This was a classic situation of scammers tugging at the heart strings of the victim.” said Const. Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. “They took advantage of an elderly lady and exploited it to their advantage.”
Nanaimo RCMP say that they have told police in Quebec of the scam and gave them information on where the phone calls were coming from. An investigation in Quebec has been launched.
To protect yourself against scams, Mounties suggest that you never send cash, gift cards or transfer money to people who contact you unless you can verify their identity.
To verify someone’s identity, police suggest asking a personal question that only the caller would know and to double-check their story with a relative, friend or police. People should also avoid acting immediately upon requests for money and end communication immediately if they feel like something is amiss.
Police say the victim’s $14,000 has not been recovered.