B.C. senior scammed by 2 fraudsters posing as grandson and police officer, hands over thousands of dollars for 'bail money'
A senior in New Westminster has lost thousands of dollars after falling victim to a scam, prompting a warning from police.
The woman was tricked by two people during one phone call Tuesday evening: a person pretending to be her grandson seeking bail money, and someone claiming to be a police officer.
In a statement Wednesday, New Westminster police explained that the victim was assured by the fraudsters that if she put a large sum of cash in an envelope, someone would meet up with her to collect it and her grandson would be released from jail. The scammers falsely claimed he had been arrested for having a large amount of cannabis in his vehicle.
“It is despicable that criminals are using family bonds to manipulate seniors out of thousands of dollars,” Sgt. Justine Thom wrote in the release.
Police say the fraudsters used techniques to encourage the victim to share information they later used against her.
For example, by exclaiming "hey grandma" when the victim answered the phone, the fraudsters set the woman up to say her grandson’s name. When she raised concerns with their request, the fraudsters assured her it was not a scam because her grandson was the one who called her.
“We’re asking people to speak to friends and family about this incident, and to share with them the techniques the fraudsters used,” wrote Thom.
Police are gathering evidence to help them identify the suspect who collected the victim’s money. She is described as a woman in her early 20s with light purple, wavy, shoulder-length hair. Police say the suspect stands 5'4" tall and was wearing a faded charcoal sweatshirt, patterned leggings and pink Crocs at the time of the crime.
Anyone with information can reach out to the New Westminster Police Department at 604-525-5411 and reference file 22-18829.
Police agencies across Metro Vancouver issued warnings about bail money scams in January, a month when multiple frauds were being reported daily.
Officials are reminding the public that Canadian police and courts never call family members to ask for bail money. Police say anyone who receives a call like this should hang up and report it to local authorities, as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
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