It is easy to lose one’s common sense when a loved one is in trouble, and that is what fraudsters are banking on as the notorious grandparent scam hits Mississauga once again.
A New Type of Grandparent Scam
Peel police are warning residents in Brampton and Mississauga about a new type of grandparent scam that’s been recently discovered by the force’s fraud bureau. The term ‘grandparent scam’ is used because the fraud is specifically targeting seniors.
The police shared that the scam starts with a phone call to the victim. The scammer pretends to be a family member (usually a grandson) and asks the targeted victim to purchase an expensive watch (usually a Rolex). The fraudster claims that the purchase is for paying a debt. Another version is that the purchase is for a gift. Once the purchase has been made, the victim is directed to send the watch to a Quebec address using a courier service.
The scam is so successful because targeted victims are told by the fake family member that this is a matter that must be kept a secret from other family members.
Clear Warnings Given
Residents are being asked by the police to verify details of requests like the one described above with other family members before sending any form of material thing. Residents are warned that phone calls asking for money and/or gifts must be treated suspiciously.
In some instances, the scammer would ask for a gift card instead of money or an expensive item. To save on shipping fee, the scammer would then ask for the code or serial number over the phone.
Police shared that the common targets are elderly or retirement age individuals who live alone and have a publicly published phone number. If you or someone you know is a possible target, be sure to read the next section.
Tips to Avoid the Scam
Avoiding any sort of grandparent scam is quite easy if you heed the following tips:
- Lawyers and law enforcement will not ask for your jewellery or other valuables over the phone.
- Any request for money should be treated with caution unless the person is exactly who she is or he is and the request was made in person.
- Before filling up forms in websites, make sure that you are at the right site.
- Do not send money to a stranger.
- Note that games and lotteries do not ask winners for fees.
- Protect your banking and mailing details. Do not share over the phone.
- Do not share private information such as your name or bank details online such as in Facebook.
- Read up on the latest scams and fraud targeting Canadians at www.antifraudcentre.ca
- If you suspect that someone may be running a scam or trying to defraud you, contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3335
If you suspect that you or someone is being targeted for a scam, the first thing to do is to calm down so that you can gather information that you can report to the proper authorities. Note what the suspected fraudsters are telling you to do for reporting later. You can also ask for our private investigation services. Contact us soonest so we can discuss how we can help you more.