The scammer pretends to be a family member or friend in trouble who needs money.
Video length: 1 minute, 24 seconds
How it works
These fraudsters often target grandparents. The grandparent receives a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild who goes on to say they are in trouble and need money immediately. Common misfortunes include having been in a car accident, getting locked up in jail, or trouble returning home from a foreign country.
One variation features two people on the phone, one pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer.
In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbour or a family friend in trouble.
How to spot it
The caller will ask you questions, getting you to reveal personal information. They’ll also swear you to secrecy, saying they are embarrassed and don’t want other family members to find out what’s happened.
- Take time to verify the story. Scammers are counting on you wanting to quickly help your loved one in an emergency.
- Call the child’s parents or friends to find out about their whereabouts.
- Ask the person on the phone questions that only your loved one would be able to answer and verify their identity before taking steps to help.
- Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust.
- Never give out any personal information to the caller.
- How to report fraud and scams in Canada
- Emergency scams (Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre)
- Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)