Fraudulent call for help from family members
Although seniors are often targeted in these types of scams, anyone can be a victim.
The most common variation – The
grandparent scam is where a person, usually an elderly person receives a phone call from somebody claiming to be a family member who is in some kind of distress.
For example, the scammer pretends to be their grandson and they need money sent right now because:
- they've been arrested,
- they've been robbed, or
- they've been in an accident
The problem with this is that the caller really isn't the relative that they claim to be and your money is going to the scammer. Often, all the information the scammer needs to pull off the scam is provided on social media or simply by the victim themselves.
This scam has evolved and become even far more sophisticated - the voice used in the phone call may be altered to sound real. This is accomplished using digital manipulation, likely with the help of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence).
Automatically be suspicious of:
- anyone asking for money, or gift cards.
- be extra suspicious if the money is requested through a wire (which are difficult to track and almost impossible to recover).
- also, an increasingly common tactic, if the money is requested to be sent through a cryptocurrency ATM (which is also extremely difficult to recover).
Avoid being a victim:
- Ask for the name who is speaking rather than offer it.
- Do not be afraid to make calls of your own. Verify identities or whereabout of the caller with other family members. Even if they say "don’t tell mom and dad".
- Do not be afraid to say ‘no’ to the caller. You don’t need to send money immediately.
- Never give your personal, banking or credit card information to anyone who calls you over the phone, never send cash/gift cards in the mail and never buy someone cryptocurrency under these circumstances.
Recognize it, Report it, Stop it.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
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