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17 October 2014Warning - this news article expired on 2014-11-17. Information may no longer be accurate or applicable

Fraud ALERT – "Grandparent Scam”

 

Belleville, Ontario  - Members of the Belleville Police Service Criminal Investigations Branch are warning the public – in particular the elderly – about a scam that has resurfaced involving the purchase of gift cards.

Typically referred to as the ‘Grandparent’s Scam’, the scheme involves con-artist calling victims and pretending to be a grandchild. At the time of the call, the fraudster sounds upset and is barely intelligible, explaining he is in trouble – usually because of a car accident or after an arrest out of town – and requires money to get out of jail.

At that point, the phone is passed to another person who poses as a "lawyer”.

The "lawyer” request money be sent for bond to cover legal expenses through a transfer company such as Western Union or Money Gram. 

This type of high-pressure fraud unfolds quickly - usually the money is sent within an hour of the phone call - and preys on the emotions of the elderly in our community.

In Belleville, there have been at least three incidents over the past week in which fraudsters have convinced victims to attend local home improvement shopping centres or large department stores and purchase reloadable credit cards.

Once home with the cards, the "lawyer” calls the victim back and instructs them how to provide information from the cards in order for the funds to be collected elsewhere.

In one local incident over the past two weeks, an 81-year-old city woman was defrauded of $18,000 after falling victim to the scheme.

Friday morning, another elderly man approached the staff of a local home improvement store attempting to purchase cards under a similar guise, however store staff intervened and shed light on the scam to the potential victim - effectively stopping the fraud before it took place.

Area businesses can contact the Belleville Police Service for advice on suggested training of employees on recognizing a fraud scam in progress.

Anyone who have fallen victim to this scam is asked to contact Belleville Police Service at 613-966-0882. Or Detective Constable Jeremy Ashley of the Elder Abuse Unit of the Belleville Police Service 613-966-0882 Ext 2315.

For more information on this and similar scams, visit

https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/recognizeit.html.