The “grandparent scam” has cost victims thousands of dollars, according to the OPP.
Provincial Constable Samantha Bigley says the scam is also known as the “emergency scam.”
According to her, the victim gets a call from someone they are led to believe is a lawyer, police officer, or bondsperson claiming there is an emergency and the victim’s family member needs cash to get out of jail or post bail. She says the scam is designed to get an emotional reaction.
The scammer will get the victim to buy gift cards and call them back with the codes.
To combat this scam, Bigley says to slow things down, adding if you give yourself time to think, you might realize what’s happening is suspicious. She says to try and not feel pressured to make a decision right away and take the time to ask questions. Bigley says to hang up and call other family members who would know what’s going on to fact-check the scammer.
Most importantly, Bigley says, if this situation was legitimate, gift cards would not be deemed an acceptable form of payment.