Monday, January 30, 2023

“Emergency Scam” reports prompt provincial warning from RCMP

The Alberta RCMP are advising the public of a current scam that has been circulating across the province.

These circulating scams are referred to as Emergency Scams, or sometimes “Grandparent” or “Grandchild” scams.

These scams usually involve a phone call to the victim claiming that a loved one is in trouble either with the police or courts and some form of payment is required to help them out. The suspects, in most cases, will pretend to be a police officer, judge or even the family member in question.

These suspects will usually ask for a payment, either in cash, gift cards, bitcoin, or e-transfer, then either an associate of the scammer will then act as a courier to pick up the payment, or they’ll ask for the payment to be mailed.

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There are two common themes with this type of scam, a sense of urgency and secrecy. The payment must be paid as soon as possible or there will be consequences, and no one can know due to the ’embarrassing’ nature or because there is a “gag order” from a judge.
this year, over 150 reports of the fraud have been reported to Alberta RCMP, with a total loss of around $750,000.

RCMP are reminding the public that bail is always paid in person at a courthouse or correctional center, to never send money to anyone you don’t know, if someone claims to be a police officer or judge — call the detachment or court house directly to confirm, and never give out any personal information over the phone or online to anyone you do not know.

“We encourage you to talk to family, friends, or loved ones who may be vulnerable to these types of crimes, making sure they know what to watch for,” said Cpl. Sean Milne, Alberta RCMP Serious and Organized Crime Unit.

“If they are contacted by a scammer, they shouldn’t feel embarrassed, they shouldn’t keep it secret, and they should reach out for help.”

If you or someone you know have been a victim of this scam or any other scam contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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