Although Fraud Prevention Month was over when the calendar turned to April, people need to be aware that fraudsters are looking for ways to scam someone out of their life savings 365 days a year. 

The Alberta RCMP Federal Serious & Organized Crime Branch is warning the public of a scam that is circulating throughout Alberta and Canada targeting grandparents who just want to help their family.

The fraud is known as the Grandparent or Grandchild scam.   According to RCMP, these scams often involve a phone call being placed to the victim claiming their grandchild is in trouble with the courts or law enforcement and a payment of cash is needed to help them. The suspects will often pretend to be police or a judge and caution the victims not to tell anyone about the transaction and a courier will be sent to the house to pick up the cash in person or have it sent in the mail.

During the month of March along, the  Alberta RCMP have received five complaints of this type of scam with a total loss of over $100,000 to the victims. Not only is there a concern for the amount of money being lost, but a great concern for these couriers showing up in person to collect the cash.

To keep grandparents from falling victim to this scam, the RCMP are reminding Alberta residents of the following advice:  

  • Never withdraw or send money to anyone you don’t know;
  • If the person is saying a family member is in trouble, confirm with that family member first prior to taking any action;
  • If the person claims to be police or a judge, call that police service or courthouse directly to confirm that situation – police and courts will never demand cash be picked up in person or mailed; and
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or online to someone you don’t know—the police or courts will not ask for personal information over the phone.

If you have fallen victim to this or any other scam, get in touch with your local RCMP or police of jurisdiction immediately.

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