The Alberta RCMP has seen an increase in public complaints about fraudulent scams referred to as Emergency Scams, or “Grande Parent” scams.
The scams typically target seniors and often involve a phone call being placed to the victim claiming a loved one is in trouble with the courts or law enforcement and payment is needed to help them. The caller will often take on the persona of a police officer, judge, or family member and normally ask for cash, payment in gift cards, bitcoin, or e-transfers.
The scammers will then send an associate acting as a courier to pick up the money in person or ask for the money to be mailed. Cold Lake RCMP would like to remind the public of the following tips to recognize scams and avoid becoming a victim:
- Scammers use high-pressure tactics like creating a sense of urgency or secrecy to cloud your judgement. Don’t be afraid to say no.
- If a person claims to be a police officer or judge or lawyer, call that police service or courthouse directly to confirm the situation – police and courts will never demand cash be picked up in person or mailed.
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a family member or grandchild in need of bail money confirm who they are. Seek assistance from someone you trust.
- Don’t keep the situation a secret. Scammers will pressure you to lie to your bank, the police or family about what is happening. Talk to family, friends, or loved ones and reach out for help.
- Never give out personal information. Beware of calls where you are asked to provide your name, address, birthdate, Social Insurance Number, credit card or banking information, and other personal family details.
Anyone looking for more information on scams can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or call the toll-free at 1-888-495-8501. Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of fraud or have given personal or financial information unwittingly is asked to contact the local police detachment.