What you need to know about the ‘Grandparent Scam’

“We continue to warn the public about an uptick in these types of scams, which target vulnerable populations,” said Organized Fraud Unit Staff Sergeant Cameron Graham.

The Ottawa Organized Fraud Unit (OFU) has received over ten reports of the Grandparent Scam in just the past week. The scam involves the fraudster calling or texting, claiming to be your grandchild or calling on behalf of your grandchild. In some cases, they may even say that they are a lawyer or law enforcement officer. They will immediately make the situation seem dire, asking for money or gift cards to prevent jail time.

They are preying on the victim’s fear of their loved one being hurt or facing jail time. Some may claim that there is a gag order in place so that you cannot speak to others about the situation. The OFU would like to inform the public that gag orders are designed for the media to protect evidence and victims’ identities, not to prevent you from talking to friends or family.

How to Protect Yourself:

  • Don’t be pressured. They want you to feel scared and won’t give you time to think so that you are more likely to agree to what they want.
  • Call a trusted family member to discuss the situation.
  • Call your local police services. Make sure to use a number from a reputable source, not the phone number from the fraudster.
  • Hang up and call the family member directly using the number you know is theirs.
  • The Canadian Criminal Justice System does not allow for someone to be bailed out of jail with cash, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.

If you want to know more about how to protect yourself check out the Government of Canada’s page here.

If you have become a victim of a scam, there are resources for you here.


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