Calgary, AB,

Police investigate new twist in popular grandparent scam

We are continuing to investigate a series of grandparent scams after seeing a spike in reported incidents with scammers using new tactics to target seniors.

After receiving 99 reports from January 1 to June 30 this year, police are warning citizens about the red flags of new tactics being used by scammers.  

In the past, scammers usually contacted seniors by calling them on the phone, claiming to be their grandchild who had been arrested and in urgent need of payment to cover bail costs. Payment was usually collected in person by a scammer posing as a court-appointed courier who would come to the homes of victims or have seniors meet them elsewhere with the money, often creating a potentially dangerous situation for the senior. 

Now, scammers are contacting seniors directly via text message and demanding payment via e-transfer, thereby eliminating the need to meet in person to collect the funds.  

“Scammers use convincing and high-pressure tactics to prey upon the emotions of senior citizens, ultimately taking advantage of their trust and generosity,” says Detective Darcy Williams of the Calgary Police Service. “Our goal is to help facilitate open conversations between seniors, caregivers and families while educating citizens about the red flags of this prevalent scam. We encourage anyone who has been victim to report the incident to police immediately.” 

 The Calgary Police Service reminds all citizens that:

  • Court-appointed couriers do not exist. If someone asks to come to your home to pick up payment, it is a red flag.
  • Demanding instant payment via e-transfer is also a red flag. E-transfers are instantaneous, and if the recipient isn’t local, it can be difficult to retrieve lost funds.
  • If it has to be now, it has to be no. Using fear or high-pressure tactics is usually a red flag.
  • Always speak to family, friends, caregivers and other trusted individuals to verify the legitimacy of the claims being made before acting.

More information on how seniors can protect themselves, along with a description of the grandparent scam ruse is available on the Calgary Police Service website.

Anyone with information about these scams is asked to call the police non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477


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