Scammers are once again targeting grandparents with a bail scam, says Red Deer RCMP.
RCMP said seniors were targeted with the same scam in March.
“(Wednesday) we received five reports of attempted grandparent scams, and there are likely more targeted individuals that haven’t called us,” said Cpl. Michael Evans, in a statement.
Seniors are contacted by someone pretending to be their grandchild saying they were arrested and need bail money. The senior is warned that there is a gag order posted on the bond and that the grandparent must not tell anyone about the money.
The victim is often instructed to withdraw around $9,000 and told that a courier will pick it up from their residence later that day. Sometimes victims are contacted multiple times a day and instructed to withdraw more and more money over the course of several days to assist their grandchild with their legal costs.
RCMP said the victims have received calls from people impersonating American and Canadian police officers.
“These fraudsters are highly-skilled at manipulation and use fear, panic, guilt and empathy to prey on people,” Evans said. “Their techniques are elaborate and quite convincing. They often search social media for information to enhance their credibility and knowledge of their victim.”
He encouraged people to make sure their elderly family members are aware of the scam.
Tips to recognize impersonation fraud include:
• Never give out personal information. Beware of calls where you are asked to provide your name, address, birthdate, Social Insurance Number, credit card or banking information, and other personal family details.
• Be careful about what you share on social media. Even limited information on profiles can provide a wealth of opportunity for fraudsters. Be wary of how sharing pictures, connecting with family members or joining groups may make you more vulnerable.
Anyone who believes they were defrauded, or know someone who was, should contact Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575 or their local police service. Also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre which CAFC collects information on fraud and identities theft trends across Canada.