Police lay charges in prevalent grandparent scam
A Calgary man who is believed to have defrauded several local seniors out of thousands of dollars over a four-month period is now facing 10 charges in what has become known as the “grandparent scam.”
Generally speaking, the “grandparent scam” refers to scammers posing as grandchildren of elderly people claiming they have been arrested and are in urgent need of money to secure bail. In other cases, the scammers have been known to pose as government or law enforcement officials looking to collect bail payments.
Throughout the course of this investigation, officers spoke with several victims who courageously came forward to report their experience with an unknown man who was allegedly posing as a court-appointed courier. Between February and April 2022, fraudsters would make arrangements to show up at victims’ homes to collect thousands of dollars. In April alone, approximately 20 similar incidents reported to police resulted in a combined loss of $199,000.
After reviewing CCTV footage and speaking with witnesses, investigators were able to identify one man believed to be responsible for multiple incidents.
As a result, Jason Dwight DEAR, 38, has been charged with seven counts of fraud over $5,000, three counts of using a stolen credit card and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
DEAR is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
“We are asking anyone who has been approached by an unknown person asking for bail payment to report it to police,” says Staff Sergeant Mark Auger with the Calgary Police Service General Investigations Unit. “These fraudsters are clever and convincing, and they prey on people’s generosity and trustworthiness. We’re encouraging citizens to be diligent in verifying people’s identity before handing over any form of payment. Oftentimes talking about the situation with family members and close friends helps bring the truth to light.”
It is important to note that Calgary Police Service officers, and other law enforcement officers, do not collect bail money from citizens over the phone.
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:
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