The Halton Regional Police Service frequently investigates fraudulent acts committed against seniors, including those that fall under the Emergency-Grandparent Scam.

How it Works:

  • The scam occurs over the telephone and targets the elderly.
  • The caller identifies themselves as the elderly victim’s grandchild, sometimes by name, or sometimes by just saying, “Hi”, or, “It’s me”.
  • The caller will wait for the victim to respond with something to the effect of, “Oh John. Is that you?” thereby identifying the grandson for the fraudster.
  • The caller usually indicates that they have been involved in a car accident, or that they have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence and is thus in urgent and immediate need of cash to cover legal fees.
  • Callers sometimes pretend to be a bail bondsperson or court representative, and may even try attending your home to collect funds. They may also stress that there is a gag order in place and ask you to tell your bank that the money is for renovations. Remember, the court or law office will never send someone to your personal residence to collect cash.
  • Once the money is transferred, fraudsters may call back citing a number of reasons as to why they require additional money, including but not limited to, covering hospital bills or car repairs.
  • While the above scenario is common, it’s important to be mindful of the variations scammers may attempt.

How to Respond:

  • Hang up and contact the family member.
  • If you choose to stay on the line, ask the caller for their phone number and tell them you’ll return their call. This gives you time to verify information. If the caller refuses, you should be suspicious.
  • Ask the caller a personal question only your grandchild could answer, such as their date of birth.
  • Never send cash, cryptocurrencies or other funds to unknown persons, unverified addresses or bank accounts.
  • Speak to another family member about the matter before sending any money, or enquire with police.

Contact Information:

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a Grandparent Scam, please call our Regional Fraud Unit at 905-465-8741.