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Grandparent Emergency Scams Becoming More Frequent

By Katie Nicholls Feb 4, 2023 | 7:00 AM

EpicTop10.com / CC

Grandparent Emergency scams are becoming more and more frequent, and police agencies across the country are concerned about the ongoing trend.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are launching a fraud prevention campaign that starts on Monday, Feb. 6-10 to raise awareness about the significant increase in emergency-grandparent scams targeting Canadian seniors.

What happens is the victim will receive a call from a “grandchild” or someone claiming to be in close relation to one. They will indicate there’s some sort of emergency (e.g. emergency lawyer’s fees, bail money, or even as low as a medical emergency … etc) and will ask the victim to send the money right away.

More than $530 million was lost to scammers in general in 2022 reports the CAFC. A startling fact is that that’s a 40 per cent increase from 2021’s losses of $380 million.

Vulnerable individuals and seniors have been easy targets for fraudulent action with more than $9.2 million being reported for “emergency” scams, according to the CAFC. This was a drastic increase from $2.4 million in 2021.

Five provinces of 13 provinces and territories were most impacted in 2022;

  • Ontario – over $5.4 million in reported losses;
  • Alberta – over $1.1 million in reported losses;
  • Quebec – over $732,000 in reported losses;
  • British Columbia – over $322,000 in reported losses;
  • Manitoba – over $313,000 in reported losses.

It is estimated that only a small amount of victims report the scams and fraud to the CAFC or police to the tune of 5-10 per cent.

Take action

  • Join the RCMP, CAFC and OPP in raising awareness from February 6-10, 2023. The partners will be posting social media tips, bulletins, and various other resources.
  • On February 7, 2023 at 1:00pm EST the OPP and CAFC will be hosting a live chat to discuss emergency-grandparent scams alongside an attempted victim who will share their experience. You can view this live chat on the OPP’s Twitter and Facebook.
  • If you fall victim to a fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and also report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur.
  • If you know a senior or have an elderly family member, please reach out to them and have a conversation on what to do if they get a phone call like this and consider coming up with a code word.
  • Follow us on social media:

This is the link to report fraud or a scam to the CAFC.


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