Police investigate new cases of grandparent scam in Hamilton – Hamilton


Hamilton police have issued another alert to residents about a popular « grandparents » phone scam that continues to draw victims across southern Ontario.

Investigators say they launched an investigation into four cases last week in which victims received calls from people posing as grandchildren who claim they were arrested and need financial help.

“The same suspect(s) are believed to be involved in these crimes due to the similarity of details,” said Cst. Indy Bharaj told Global News in an email.

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Police say Niagara Falls resident lost $11,000 after grandson’s arrest scam

« The ‘fraudsters’ will ask the victim to keep the call private and not alert other family members to the situation. In some cases, they even pass the phone to an accomplice posing as a lawyer or law enforcement official.

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Police departments in Hamilton, Toronto, Halton and Niagara say they have been handling cases related to the lucrative scam since 2017.

Those who have been victims of the crime include a 76-year-old Niagara woman who lost $11,000 in February when a grandchild falsely called for bail following an alleged drug bust by the authorities in his vehicle.

« The victim was advised that an ‘Officer Henderson’ would arrange for a courier to collect the money from the victim’s residence in the City of Niagara Falls, » Niagara Police spokesperson Const. Phil Gavin said in a statement.

Gavin said detectives investigated 11 similar incidents that month.

A Toronto senior lost $25,000 to the scam the same month after receiving a phone call in early February from someone claiming to be an RCMP officer.

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“He said something about a grandson. Well, I don’t have a grandson, but I said, ‘nephew?’ He said my nephew was found in the wrong place at the wrong time. … They discovered three pounds of marijuana in the back, I guess, in the trunk. … I said to him, ‘Well, are you looking for bail?’ And of course that led directly to what he wanted,” said Bill, whose last name Global News decided not to provide.

Read more:

Toronto senior loses $25,000 in popular ‘grandparenting scam’

Toronto police say they have investigated more than 100 similar cases of ‘grandparent’ fraud since March 2021

« Not all of them were successful, but many of them have caused a total of what we can calculate to be over $1 million in damage in the last year alone, » Det. Toronto police. David Coffey told Global News.

« It’s probably much higher than that because not everyone is reporting the crime. »

Hamilton Police are urging residents to be wary of suspicious phone calls from suspected troubled family members.

“Never provide personal information over the phone, text or email. The police will never ask for payment in cash, service company, iTunes/Google Pay, credit gift cards or bitcoins,” Bharaj said.

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Anyone with knowledge or information about a recent phone scam can contact Hamilton Police or Crime Stoppers.

— With files by Caryn Lieberman

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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