Police warn of 'grandparent scams' in Quebec
Reports of "grandparent scams" have been popping up in Les Maskoutains, in Que., with two people scammed out of money and dozen others approached by fraudsters.
Although these cases occurred in Quebec's Monteregie region, this type of fraud can be found anywhere, provincial police (SQ) warn.
The scams involve posing as a senior's relative in order to get money from them.
"The suspect will pose as a family member, relative or acquaintance and then contact the victim, telling them that they are in trouble and need access to money quickly, sometimes in amounts up to thousands of dollars," explained SQ spokesperson Louis-Philippe Ruel.
According to an SQ press release, the fraudsters take advantage of seniors' vulnerability and put pressure on them "by playing with their emotions."
"In recent cases, they even went so far as to send someone to get the money from the victim's home," the release states.
Ruel said these scams often occur over the phone and are a Quebec-wide issue.
"It is something that could be found everywhere in Quebec and that surfaces quite sporadically in the news," he said.
GRANDPARENT SCAMS ON THE RISE
Grandparent scams are on the rise across the country, according to police and fraud-prevention experts.
In 2021, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received reports of 379 cases involving 115 victims, with more than $1.7 million in losses. But since the start of 2022, the centre says there have been 674 cases involving 273 victims and resulting in $2.7 million in losses.
The SQ shared a few pointers when it comes to avoiding these scams:
- If the caller is too insistent or demanding, be wary
- Ask personal questions that only your loved one would be able to answer.
- Call another family member or the person's friends to verify the validity of their story
- If the caller claims to be acting on behalf of an organization, contact the organization directly
For additional support, seniors can call the Elder Mistreatment Line at 1-888-489-2287.
This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on July 30, 2022.
With files from CTV's Tom Yun.