Grandparent scam reports on rise in Hamilton


Published February 21, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Increased number of Hamilton residents falling victim to phone scam: police

The police in Hamilton are seeing more reports of of the “grandparent scam,” which has become a favourite of fraudsters across Ontario.

The method that scammers use, says Hamilton Police (HPS), involves placing a call to the victim where a fraudster poses as a grandchild or other family member. The fraudster claims they have been arrested and need bail money or financial help in an emergency. The fraudster will ask the victim not to call other family as they do not want anyone to find out. Often, the fraudster will turn the phone over to another person, who will claim to be a lawyer or law enforcement official. The victim is then told to send money to a bank account or via courier to an address.

In numerous cases, victims have been cheated out of sums well into the five figures. Last month, a 67-year-old woman in Vaughan was defrauded of some $57,000 in a case where a Mississauga man now faces charges.

Anyone who receives such a call should hew to the following, says HPS:

  • Be suspicious of calls that demand money or immediate action.
  • No law enforcement agency will demand immediate payment of currency.
  • Never offer information to the caller.

  • If the fraudster asks a question such as, “Do you know who this is?”, simply say no and have them tell you.
  • Contact another family member to confirm the story.
  • Remember to never send money to someone under uncertain conditions.
  • Do not be afraid to say “No.”

The HPS is going to hold community information sessions about these types of frauds.

One will be at Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre (780 Upper Wentworth St.) at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 3. Another will be at the Central police station (155 King William St.) at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4.

A virtual session will also be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5.

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