Don’t fall for the ‘Grandkid’ scam

It’s going around again.

Scammers are calling seniors and impersonating their grandkids.  They say that there’s an urgent need for money and press the grandparents to provide the money to save the day.  I’m a grandparent and I know that it would be easy to be taken in by these professional fraudsters.  They know just what to say and how to say it.  They likely even know your grandkid’s name because they found it online somewhere. Maybe they are even using one of those programs that makes call display show your grandkid’s phone number.  The Prince Edward County Detachment of the OPP told me that a local senior was contacted and the scammer was asking for $7,000.

The Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) released this warning to the public “of a recent increase in “grandkid” scams, after two people were defrauded almost $10,000 each. With this scam, the victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild or other family member, stating that they have been arrested and need bail money.  In both cases, a male driving a dark-coloured van claiming to be a “bondsman” showed up to collect the money from the victims. The OPP is warning the public to be aware of these fraudulent phone calls and to report any incidents to police immediately. The OPP is reminding the public to be suspicious of phone calls that request money, and to never offer personal information or money over the phone.”

If you’re feeling embarrassed that you fell victim to this (or any) fraud then try to remember that the fraudsters are professionals.  This is all they do and they do it well.

Our local Detachment Commander, John Hatch, suggests if you receive such a call you really need to let the police know about it, even if you don’t give them money.  The police track these scams and by doing so have a chance of catching the scammers.

Apparently only 10 per cent of victims report the incident.  You can report to the OPP by calling the nonemergency number at 1-888-310-1122. Further information can also be obtained from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) online at or by calling toll free at 1-888-495-8501. Remember this column if you get that call.  Sometimes they call in the middle of the night to wake people up and to really get a victim when they’re not thinking clearly.

Ask the caller questions only your grandkid would know the answer to.  Always, always be suspicious of phone calls requesting money.  Stay safe out there.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes