Fort Erie residents are warned of rise in so-called ‘grandparent scams’

Police are warning the public of an increase in ‘grandparent scam’ complaints.

This emergency scam targets seniors through phone calls. Fraudsters will impersonate a grandchild, family member, law enforcement officer, or lawyer claiming the loved one is in trouble. They create a sense of urgency by fabricating situations like collisions, legal issues, illness, or injuries.

The scammer then demands immediate payment for supposed bail, legal fees, or other charges to prevent the loved one from jail time or to secure their release.

Scammers create urgency and pressure to isolate the victim and prevent them from verifying information. They might demand cash or money transfers, and often use scare tactics by claiming a court-imposed gag order exists, forbidding the victim from discussing the situation.

Residents of Fort Erie and beyond are advised not provide any personal information or send money over the phone. Hang up immediately and verify the information directly with your loved one. Call them using a trusted phone number, not one provided by the scammer, and report the incident to police.

If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a call, contact the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS).

For further information on scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the NRPS website or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

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