Elderly Durham resident defrauded of $9,000 – one of six scam attempts in same day

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Published December 10, 2021 at 4:17 pm

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Durham Regional Police have released a second fraud warning in as many weeks, this time concerning the “Grandparent Scam” victimizing elderly Durham residents, hot on the heels of five attempts and one success yesterday that cost a local senior $9,000.

Police say they’ve seen a major uptick in this sort of crime over the past several months, including a series of incidents in the fall. In a “grandparent scam” the con artist will call or text an elderly target over the phone, often pretending to be a grandchild in an emergency.

A routine example of this is a call from one individual pretending to be a grandchild who has been arrested and been given “their phone call,” as in films. The phone is often then given to another grifter claiming to be a police or bond officer who will demand bail money.

At least five Grandparent scams were run in September. A 77-year-old woman from Pickering was defrauded $9,000 on the 24th when a man pretending to be her grandson called for “bail money.” Just weeks earlier an Ajax woman was ripped off for $27,000 in a similar manner.

Yesterday a fraudster struck again. The elderly resident answered the phone to a man claiming their grandchild had been arrested.

Just as in the incident from September 24, the fraudster demanded “bail money” from the victim to secure the grandchild’s release and just like the 24th, the victim gave $9,000 to a man who arrived at their apartment to collect.

Once the grandparent learned their grandchild had been fine all along, they contacted police, who said they received five similar reports that day.

Police notes demands for cash from these calls often become “increasingly aggressive.” Swindlers will demand the funds from a variety of methods including cash, e-transfer or wire transfer.

“If you receive a call like this, do not wire money or give the caller any information. Hang up and call your grandchild or another family member, then report it to police.”

“Police never contact family members and request cash bail or send someone to a residence to collect bail.”

 

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