Compassionate Seniors are Often Vulnerable Victims of Fraud
ORILLIA, ON, March 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
remind seniors and vulnerable citizens that they are primary targets
for scammers who prey upon their emotions and rob them of their money.
Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch say the "Emergency Scam" has been around for many years but it continues to reach across
Ontario. The fact that seniors are hesitant to say 'no' or to hang up
on someone on the phone makes them easy targets for criminals to access
substantial sums of money.
In 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 2,020 complaints of criminals using the "Emergency Scam" -- sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam" -- in Canada. Of those, 506 people were identified as victims who reported a loss of more than $1.4 million. Police believe there are many more victims, but they are reluctant to report the crime, either out of embarrassment or not knowing how.
In a typical "emergency" scam, the victim receives a phone call or
e-mail from someone claiming to be a friend or relative, like a
grandchild, in distress. The caller or e-mailer goes on to indicate
that they are in some kind of trouble, such as being in a car crash,
they need money for bail, or they are having trouble returning from a
foreign country. The fraudster specifically asks that the victims to
not tell other relatives. You may get a call from two people, one
pretending to be your grandchild and the other pretending to be either
a police officer or a lawyer. Your "grandchild" asks questions during
the call, getting victims to volunteer personal information. Victims
(often seniors) generally don't verify the story until after their
money has been sent through a wire transfer service or they have access
to personal banking or credit card information to criminals.
To guard against becoming a victim, police advise you to first check
with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information
BEFORE sending money or providing credit card information by phone or
e-mail. It is vitally important that the incident be reported every
time it occurs, to allow police to investigate and find the
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an 'emergency'
scam, contact your local police service or Crime Stoppers at
FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.
"Fraud in all of its forms costs Canadians extraordinary amounts of
money. Increasing awareness is the first step toward reducing its
devastating impact. Reporting the scam then allows police an
opportunity to warn other people and minimize the chances of the scam
- Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
"Scammers are counting on the fact that you will want to act quickly to
help your loved ones in an emergency. Never send money to anyone you
don't know and trust. Verify the person's identity before you take any
steps to help."
-- Inspector Paul Beesley, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch
OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month
OPP YouTube Emergency Scam video (English)
OPP YouTube Emergency Scam video (French)
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre - The Emergency or Grandparent Scam
MEDIA NOTE: This is the fifth of five weekly OPP media releases on various criminal
activities as part of Fraud Prevention Month.
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Detective Constable Ted Schendera
OPP Anti-Rackets Branch