June 23, 2015 1:50 pm
Updated: June 23, 2015 1:53 pm

New twist on common scam puts Calgary seniors in harm’s way

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CALGARY – Police are warning Calgarians about a scary new twist on a scam used to target seniors.

Investigators were called to the community of Dalhousie on June 3rd, after a woman at a senior’s complex was approached by a con artist who talked her into giving him $2,500.

The suspect told the victim he was friends with her grandson, claiming he had been in an accident and needed money to pay his bail.

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The scenario is one frequently used in so-called ‘grandparent scams’ – but police say they’re usually committed over the phone, not in person.

Officers say the fact that victims are now being targeted in one-on-one contact places them in danger.

In a second case earlier this month, an elderly woman was contacted over the phone by a man claiming to be her grandson. The suspect asked for money, telling the victim he would have a friend collect it from her.

The victim was visited by a man three times, giving him envelopes full of cash on each occasion.

In total, the con artist collected $7,500 from the senior.

Searching for suspects

Police are looking to the public for help locating suspects in connection to both incidents.

In the Dalhousie case, the suspect is described as between 20 and 30-years-old with brown hair and a goatee. He was wearing a red nylon jacket with a hoodie beneath it.

The suspect in the second incident is described as about 20-years-old, with brown hair. He was wearing a red nylon jacket at the time.

It’s unknown in the cases are related.

Anyone with is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or use Crime Stoppers.

Staying safe

Family members are urged to alert their elderly family members about these scams, and how to protect themselves.

The Calgary Police Service suggests the following crime prevention tips:

  • Do not ferent el pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story.
  • Never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person’s identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.
  • Ask the caller questions that only your family member would know the answer to.
  • Ask for call back numbers in order to confirm the legitimacy of any call you receive.
  • When in doubt, check it out. Verify the story with other friends or family members.
  • Immediately report suspicious people to police.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud and has suffered a loss or has any information, such as suspicious phone numbers, is asked to call the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234.

Anyone who has not suffered a loss is asked to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 with any pertinent information.

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