On Friday, July 22, a 24-year-old Quebec man was arrested and charged in relation to a number of recent Grandparent Scam Frauds that have been occurring in the Barrie area.
The Barrie Police Fraud Unit has been investigating several occurrences where the victim receives a call from an individual who claims to be a police officer or an employee with court services. The caller then explains that the victim’s grandchild is in trouble and has been arrested and requests a large cash payment to secure bail for the grandchild. The victim is given instructions on how to package the cash and is given a name of a “judge” or a name and badge number for an “investigating police officer” to write on the outside. After the package of cash is picked up, the victim usually receives another call from the individual, claiming more cash is required.
Between Monday, July 18 and Friday, July 22, it is believed that up to $90,000 was lost through this scam.
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, investigators from the Barrie Police Fraud Unit were able to arrest the male as he attempted to collect money from another victim. The male is now facing multiple fraud-related charges including Fraud over $5,000, and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime over $5,000.
Police believe there may be additional victims of this fraud, and encourage anyone who may have received a similar call and lost money to contact Barrie Police at 705-725-7025 or online at https://www.barriepolice.ca/citizens-online-reporting/.
Barrie Police remind everyone that in Canada, there is no cash bail system. You will never be required to provide cash, gift cards, e-transfer, or any other form of immediate payment to secure bail.
If you receive a call like this, the best course of action is to reach out to the family member that you believe is in trouble, their parents, or another trusted person. Fraudsters may tell you that you can’t tell anyone, that you can’t confirm the grandchild’s well-being and that you don’t need to bother following up with police. This is simply not true, and it is a clear sign that the call is a fraud.
Tips for Spotting Fraud
- A sense of urgency
The scam may be encouraging you to take up the offer before time runs out, or it may be threatening you with a negative action if you don’t act quickly enough. No matter how pressured you feel, there is always time to reach out for confirmation. No reputable company or organization will penalize you for taking time to verify their claims.
For example, in the Grandparent Scam, the caller may tell you there is only a small window of time that the bail offer is valid.
- Asking for personal information
Just because someone who has reached out to you has some personal information about you, doesn’t mean you have to confirm any additional information. If they claim to be from a known organization, reach out to that organization separately and confirm they were trying to contact you.
For example, in the Grandparent Scam, the caller may address the victim as “Grandma” or “Grandpa,” never by name. They may also not refer to the grandchild by name, instead telling you they’re calling about your grandchild, hoping you will then provide the name for them.
- It sounds too good to be true
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Investment opportunities, online romances, high-paying job offers may all be exciting to receive but talk to trusted friends and family members, and do some research before jumping in.
For example, in the Grandparent Scam, the caller may tell you that this is an offer not available to everyone. They may tell you that with your payment, you can clear your grandchild’s record. If it sounds like an unbelievable offer, it’s most likely a fraud.
|Prepared by:||Corporate Communications Coordinator,|