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WRPS Issue Fraud Warning After Older Adults Targeted

MONDAY:  February 28,2022               Case # 1797              

OFFENCE: Fraud      DATE:   FEBRUARY 23, 2022

LOCATION:    WATERLOO REGION, ON


Waterloo Regional Police Service are issuing a warning to older adults in the community after receiving several reports of frauds targeting this population.

In the grandparent scam (also known as the emergency scam), the fraudster contacts the victim, claiming that a family member is in crisis and needs money. While the fraudster can claim to be any member of the family (e.g., aunt, uncle, child, spouse) or friend, grandparents may be particularly vulnerable. Typically, a call is made from someone claiming to be the victim’s grandchild. They will state they are in trouble, such as having been arrested or involved in a collision and need money. Usually, the victim is instructed to send money immediately. Sometimes a second call will be placed from someone pretending to be a lawyer or police officer.

On February 23, 2022, at approximately 7:05 p.m., police received a report of 76-year-old and 79-year-old Cambridge grandparents who were targets of this scam. They received a phone call from a male claiming to be their grandson, who told them he had been in an accident and was in custody. The fraudster instructed them he needed $14,000 to cover the damages. He further instructed them to withdraw these funds in cash from the bank and to say it was for home renovations if questioned. In this instance, the fraudster actually attended the victims’ home in person, obtaining over $14,000 in cash.

A similar incident occurred earlier in the day in Cambridge, where victims were defrauded out of over $4,000.

The suspect in both incidents is described as a white male, approximately 5’6” tall, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants.

The investigations into these frauds are ongoing by Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Organized Financial Crime Team.

To protect yourself and others from this type of scam, consider the following:

  • Take time to think. The fraudster will make it sound urgent to pressure you.
  • Contact the family member in question. Emotions might be running high but take the time to check.
  • Ask questions only family members would know.
  • Call someone you trust or police for an opinion about the call (fraudsters will say they don’t want anyone to know because they are embarrassed).
  • Do not send any money.

If you believe you have been a victim of a similar scam, you can file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or contact Waterloo Regional Police at 519-570-9777. 

Crime Stoppers will pay a cash reward for any information leading to an arrest in this incident or any other serious crime.  You won’t be asked to identify yourself, or testify in court.

Leave a tip with Crime Stoppers in one of three convenient ways:

  • the toll-free number of 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)
  • a secure anonymous tip online at waterloocrimestoppers.ca    

or by mobile phone at www.p3tips.com

CRIME STOPPERS, MAKING YOUR STREETS SAFER ONE CALL

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