Bracebridge OPP, along with the Muskoka Community Street Crime Unit have made an arrest in connection to an emergency fraud, also known as the grandparent scam, investigation in Gravenhurst.
On May 2, 2023, police received a call from a potential victim advising that he had received a call from someone identifying as his grandson, stating he had been in a collision and required a significant sum of money to avoid charges. The “grandson” then passed the phone to another individual claiming to be a lawyer, who made arrangements to attend the victim’s residence and collect the cash. Upon hanging up with the caller, the victim recognized that it was a scam and called police.
Officers responded to the residence and were able to make an arrest and charge Reda Ahaouaze, 19 years of age, of Montreal, Quebec, with:
• Fraud Over $5,000
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
• Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence
The accused was held for a bail hearing and will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Bracebridge to answer to the charges.
Scammers use high-pressure tactics, such as claiming an emergency or injury of a loved one, to create an emotional response in potential victims. Bracebridge OPP encourages people to slow down when receiving such a call and not make any decisions until steps have been taken to verify that the information is true.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bracebridge OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or crimestopperssdm.com. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to call display, and you will remain anonymous. Being anonymous, you will not testify in court and your information may lead to a cash reward of up to $2,000.
(The Little Black Book of Scams, Competition Bureau Canada)
Emergency frauds, also known as the grandparent scam, usually target loving grandparents, taking advantage of their emotions to rob them of their money. The typical scam starts with a grandparent receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. The “grandchild” goes on to say they’re in trouble-common misfortunes include having been in a car accident, getting locked up in jail, or trouble returning home from a foreign country-and they need money immediately.
The caller will ask you questions, getting you to reveal personal information. They’ll also swear you to secrecy, saying they are embarrassed and don’t want other family members to find out what’s happened.
One variation of this ploy features two people on the phone, one pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbour or a family friend in trouble.
Tips to protect yourself:
• Take time to verify the story. Scammers are counting on you wanting to quickly help your loved one in an emergency.
• Call the child’s parents or friends to find out about their whereabouts.
• Ask the person on the phone questions that only your loved one would be able to answer and verify their identity before taking steps to help.
• Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust.
• Never give out any personal information to the caller.
For more information on this and other common scams in Canada, check out the Competition Bureau Canada’s The Little Black Book of Scams: https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html.
For additional information on ongoing scams in Canada and to report fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact police.