Beware of the grandparent scam circulating the north
Seniors across the north are being targeted in a so called ‘grandparent scam,’ and many have lost thousands of dollars, fearing their loved one is in danger.
Gail Ricker is a Sudbury woman who recently received one of these call, but didn’t fall for it.
When her phone rang just before noon on Tuesday, she didn't think anything of it, because her daughter, Mindy, often calls her on her lunch break.
"Picked up the phone and a voice that sounded just like Mindy's said ‘oh mother, mother. Oh, this is awful, I’m in jail. I said what she said I’ve been in a car accident." said Ricker.
The woman on the phone told her that she had been breathalysed by police following a collision and that's when police supposedly put her in jail.
Ricker says a man then came on the phone claiming to be her daughter’s lawyer, saying they would need bail money to be transferred in the amount of $8,000.
"I was just going to get my coat on and I thought, I’m going to call Mindy and see if I can get her on her phone. So, I called Mindy and by now it’s 12 o'clock. She answered the phone and I said ‘oh Mindy!’" said Ricker.
Greater Sudbury Police say unfortunately, catching these scammers can be a challenge.
"It's very difficult because they aren't necessarily local, and then with the apps and the technology available, the phone numbers do change and they are very hard to trace because once they are used once, they don't necessarily pop up again." said Kaitlyn Dunn, of GSPS.
So what should you do if you get a call like this?
"If you are contacted and you are not a victim we ask that you contact the anti-fraud centre or you can file a report online. If you become a victim you can contact the local police." said Dunn.
Ricker says she has received over five phone calls that were obviously scams in the last three weeks; however, she says this one is was so believable that she almost followed through with it.
She says in the future, she and Mindy will use a code word to make sure it really is her daughter.