Police have received a number of complaints from local residents. Sometimes called the Grandparent Scam, the Emergency Scam is not new, but comes in different forms; therefore, police are reminding people to be aware of it.
Emergency scams play off of peoples’ emotions and strong desire to help others in need, said police. Scammers are calling residences and are impersonating the resident’s relative/friend or are posing as someone trying to help the victim and make up an urgent situation — the relative has been arrested, mugged, or is in the hospital.
The scammers then target friends and family with urgent pleas for help, and money. It's called the Emergency Scam because its victims are typically asked to wire money to assist the friend or family member in trouble, said police.
Scammers are also using social networking sites, hacking into social networking accounts and targeting friends with frantic requests for money, claiming injury, arrest, etc.; they do the same by hacking email accounts.
They use the information in these accounts to supply enough personal detail to make their requests appear legitimate.
Here are some tips in dealing with the Emergency Scam:
Don’t give any information over the phone – example of a call:
Caller: Hi, Grandma/Grandpa
Caller: Do you know who this is?
-Calm down — being agitated or upset clouds your judgement. Take a few deep breaths and evaluate the situation.
-Contact — Call the relative’s home or cellphone, or their parent. If the caller says, “They don’t want their parents to know,” it is a scammer’s technique to keep you from discovering the truth.
-Confirm — Verify your suspicions. People who don’t fall victim to this scam find out where their relative is.
For more information, visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.