Members of the Bracebridge and Huntsville Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want to warn the public regarding recent reports of the grandparent scam in the Muskoka area.
On October 19th, 2023, Huntsville and Bracebridge detachment received several calls from concerned citizens reporting they were contacted by a stranger describing an emergency and that they required money right away. Many of the citizens recognized the phone calls as a scam and reported the information to police. One senior in the Township of Muskoka Lakes was victim to this scam on October 19th, 2023, and lost $8800. Police are investigating this incident and more information will be provided when it is received.
This is not the first time this has happened in Muskoka. On April 14, 2023, police sent out a warning to the public as citizens had lost money after receiving similar phone calls.
In the typical grandparent scam, the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one. The caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap like a car accident, in police custody, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away. The scammer will often insist that the victim does not tell anyone. The call could also involve someone claiming to be a law enforcement official, lawyer, or bailiff.
Be aware of some warning signs:
· Urgency: The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
· Fear: The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance, they may say, “I am scared, and I need help from you.”
· Secrecy: The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”
· Request for Money: Money can be requested by money transfer or in some cases the scammer sends someone to your home to pick up the payment.
To avoid becoming a victim, check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or email.
Police are asking the public to talk to their parents, grandparents, and neighbours about this scam and what to do if their called. Police are suggesting if you receive a call like this to hang up the phone and contact family members.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an emergency or grandparent scam, or any other scam report it to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.