The “grandparent” scam is wreaking havoc in Canada

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The scam “grandparent” is wreaking havoc in Canada

In a “grandparent” scam, the fraudster usually poses as a lawyer, a law enforcement representative or someone close to his victim to ask for money.

With losses of $732,000 in 2022 alone, Quebec is the third most affected province by the “grandparent” scam, after Ontario and Alberta. With the phenomenon on a “significant increase” across the country, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC) will be holding a fraud prevention campaign, February 6-10, to raise awareness.< /p>

Last year, all frauds in Canada totaled $530 million in victim losses, up nearly 40% from 2021, when 380 millions of dollars had been stolen.

According to CAFC Outreach and Communications Officer Jeff Horncastle, both the number of victims and the sums stolen from them continue to grow.

In 2021, the CAFC handled complaints from 323 victims; a year later, 1,100 people had come forward to denounce the crime they had suffered. Moreover, the Anti-Fraud Center estimates that only 5-10% of people who are victims of fraud report it, which suggests even more astronomical losses.

The “grandparent” scams alone, which have been around for a few years now, have resulted in thefts of more than $9.2 million in the country, according to the CAFC. This is a significant increase from $2.4 million in 2021.

More than half of these losses ($5.4 million dollars) were recorded in Ontario, after which $1.1 million in Alberta was stolen through this type of fraud. After Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba complete the quintet of the most affected provinces, with respective losses of more than $322,000 and $313,000.

In the case of a “grandparent” type scam, the fraudster communicates with his prey, often a vulnerable elderly person, and pretends an emergency. He pretends to be a family member, usually a grandchild, a lawyer or a law enforcement representative who calls on behalf of a loved one who is in a difficult situation. emergency for which payment, such as a deposit, is required.

By pretending to be a loved one in distress, they capitalize on our fears and rob seniors across the province of thousands of dollars every day. The best protection against this type of fraud is awareness and education, Dominic Chong, director of financial crime services for the Ontario Provincial Police, who is also involved in the campaign, said in a statement. awareness.

“Cheaters exploit our emotions and caring nature.

—Dominic Chong, Ontario Provincial Police

Throughout the week, several tips, newsletters and posts on social networks will circulate in order to make Canadians aware of this type of fraud.

It is suggested that citizens who know an elderly person who is likely to become the target of this fraud to approach the topic with her and explain what to do if she receives such a call. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center recommends using a code word to verify the authenticity of the individual on the phone.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center invites any victim of fraud to report the crime to the local police department and its employees, at 1-888-495-8501, or online using the Fraud Reporting System, even if no financial loss x27;has been suffered.