Calgary, AB,

Grandparent scammer caught in the act

Calgary police officers were ready and waiting when a grandparent scammer turned up at a senior’s door to collect money from the elderly victim, landing the scammer a criminal charge for fraud.

The scam began when the 81-year-old victim received a call around 9 a.m., on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, from a man claiming to be a lawyer stating the victim’s grandson was in police custody in the United States and that he needed money for bail. The “lawyer” claimed he needed $12,000 to bail the grandson out of jail and told the victim not to say anything to anyone.

The victim withdrew the money and was told another man would be there to pick up the money. Half an hour later, a man appeared at the victim’s door to pick up the money.

A short time later, the victim received another call from a person claiming to be the “lawyer’s” supervisor, saying they would need another $10,000. The victim went to the bank to withdraw more money and at that point was assisted by a switched-on bank employee who encouraged him to call his grandson to double check the authenticity of the claim. The grandson confirmed he was fine, and although he was in fact in the U.S., he was not in trouble. The victim then called police.

Officers arrived and knowing the man was coming to collect the second sum of money, decided to wait with the victim at his home. Around 4 p.m., a man came to the door to collect the money and was subsequently arrested by the officers.

“These scammers are really good at what they do. They are convincing and they prey on seniors’ generosity, trustworthiness and desire to help their loved ones. They are able to use personal information obtained from a number of methods to make their lies seem real. It takes all of us to protect our seniors and loved ones. Have conversations with your family members, watch out for seniors making strange transactions either at financial institutes or through gift cards and report any suspicious behaviour,” says District 1 Staff Sgt. Kurt Jacobs.

Nishaan Singh SANDHU, 21, has been charged with one count of fraud over $5,000. He was released on bail with conditions and will next appear in court on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022.

It is important to note that Calgary Police Service officers and members of the court, do not collect bail money from citizens over the phone, or on their doorsteps.

The Calgary Police Service would like to remind citizens that:

  • Bail payments can only be paid in person at the courthouse or correctional centres and receipts will be issued.
  • Only Canadian currency, debit and credit cards are accepted as payment. Gift cards, e-transfers and cheques are not accepted.
  • Funds will never be transferred to other accounts.
  • In the vast majority of situations, the person needing bail will make phone calls themselves to secure bail, not police.

Information on how seniors can protect themselves, along with a description of how the grandparent scam is typically played out, is available on the Calgary Police Service website.

Anyone with information about similar incidents is asked to contact police by calling 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
APP: P3 Tips
CA #22163841/4159

Case #22370952