Durham police warning residents to beware of “grandparent scam”

Published December 30, 2022 at 1:45 pm

If you receive a strange phone call from a person purporting to be your grandchild (or their legal representative) and asking for money to help them out in an emergency, don’t send anything without doing your due diligence first. 

Durham Regional Police say they are seeing an increase in “grandparent scams” across the region. These scams, which typically target elderly people, tend to begin with a caller addressing the victim as “grandma” or “grandpa” in order to get the victim to volunteer their grandchild’s name, possibly by saying something like, “John, is that you?” 

The scammer will then quickly escalate matters and ask for money, saying they were in a car accident or they’re under arrest and in jail in another city or country. In some cases, they may put another person on the phone who claims to be a police officer, bail bondsman or lawyer. 

If the ruse works, the victim might attempt to help their “grandchild” by sending money to the scammer. 

“If you receive a call that a loved one is in trouble and has been in an accident and they request money – IT IS A SCAM! Please educate your elderly loved ones,” Durham Police said in a tweet. 

Police are reminding residents to be vigilant and to remember that courts will never send an individual to a person’s home to collect cash. Police are also asking people to always check with family before sending money to anyone who claims to be in distress and to be extremely suspicious if the caller tells the victim not to tell anyone about the visit or phone call. 

Anyone who believes they have been targeted is encouraged to contact police. 


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