Haliburton Highlands OPP have issued a warning, and are seeking the public’s assistance in relation to an emergency scam investigation in Minden Hills.
Police said that on July 14, a victim received a call from a male falsely identifying himself as a police officer.
The fraudster advised the victim that their granddaughter had been arrested for drug-related offences and was subsequently going to be held for a bail hearing.
The caller then advised the victim that a payment of $9,000 was mandatory for the girl’s release.
The scammer warned the victim to not speak to their granddaughter’s parents or anyone else, including law enforcement, as the transaction would not take place if that was the case.
A female also spoke to the victim on the phone impersonating the granddaughter, police said. Arrangements were made and a female attended the victim’s residence the following day to collect the money.
OPP said, “members of the public are cautioned that officers would never attend a residence to obtain bail money.”
Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the female and a suspect vehicle.
The female is described as: 18-23 years old, white, approx. 5’5’’ tall, slim, 100-110 lbs, brown eyes and hair in a bun, red and black tattoo on left side of neck, one inch from ear, running down neck toward collarbone; wearing dark pants and dark zip-up coat.
The vehicle is described as a silver 2013-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Anyone with information is asked to contact OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or 705-286-1431, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or khcrimestoppers.com.
(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: 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 antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact police.