The Regina Police Service would like to make the public aware of a scam that is making the rounds once again in Regina. The scam is known as the “Grandparent” scam and typically involves a phone call to an elderly person with the caller claiming to be a grandchild of the victim by addressing him or her as grandfather or grandmother. The victim often then unwittingly gives the suspect information by addressing the caller by the grandchild’s name. (Another variation may have the caller claiming to be a close friend of the grandchild.) In all cases the suspect uses information given in the victim’s initial response to build credibility, giving the victim an urgent story of some sort of crisis requiring immediate transfer of money. Sometimes the caller claims to have been the victim of a pickpocket, or a serious motor vehicle collision, or claims to be in trouble with the law…regardless of the so-called “crisis”, each of these scam calls always develops into an urgent request for money. The victim gets caught up in the urgency and, out of concern, agrees to send money, as per the suspect’s instructions. Sometimes the victim will get a follow-up call from someone claiming to be a lawyer representing the grandchild. It is only after the money has been sent and the victim starts making other calls to family and friends that he or she realizes there was no crisis; everyone in the family is safe and the grandparent is the victim of a crime.
The Regina Police Service advises anyone who has been victim of such a crime to report it to police. (Sometimes victims are reluctant to do so because they feel embarrassed.) Awareness is the key to preventing these crimes. Anyone who gets one of these urgent calls should take the time to ask some questions. Remember that you can control of the pace of the conversation. Take notes and ask for the caller’s phone number. Then, hang up so that you can make some inquiries of your own. Take the time to check with other family members or friends to ensure that your loved ones are safe. If there is a real crisis, you will be able to get the facts from a trusted source and offer help. If there’s no crisis, congratulate yourself on not becoming the newest victim of the “Grandparent” scam.