Seniors in Metro Vancouver told to beware after latest scammer targets 73-year-old for $10,000

Click to play video: 'B.C. man loses retirement savings to cryptocurrency scam'
B.C. man loses retirement savings to cryptocurrency scam
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says there has been a 5,600 per cent increase in cryptocurrency fraud since 2015 and a B.C. man who lost his retirement savings is among the victims. – Jan 17, 2022

Police in Metro Vancouver are warning older adults in the region to beware as scams continue to trick some into turning over thousands of dollars.

More than a dozen incidents since Jan. 11 are under investigation by the Vancouver Police Department alone, according to a Thursday news release.

The most recent incident took place Wednesday, when a 73-year-old woman from South Vancouver got a phone call from someone posing as her granddaughter who claimed to be in jail and in need of $10,000 for bail.

“These fraudsters are now becoming more sophisticated and creative to avoid being caught,” Const. Tania Visintin said in the release.

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“We believe the fraudster researched the victim through social media to learn specific details about her, then targeted her specifically.”

Click to play video: 'VPD: ‘Alarming’ twist on old scam sees fraudsters come directly to seniors’ doors'
VPD: ‘Alarming’ twist on old scam sees fraudsters come directly to seniors’ doors

Police are encouraging families to consider privatizing sensitive information on social media, and are urging private financial institutions to watch out for older adults making “unusually large withdrawals.”

“People who work at banks play a critical role in fraud prevention,” Visintin added.

“They often know their elderly clients by name, know their routines, and are sometimes the first people to realize when something doesn’t seem right.”

Earlier this week, police in New Westminster warned the public about an increase in reported scammers requesting cryptocurrency, often claiming to be employees of the Canada Revenue Agency, court services — even the New Westminster Police Department.

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They may manipulate their phone numbers so the call display appears to be from those organization, police said in a release, and tell victims they must pay immediately to avoid serious consequences.

“A request for cryptocurrency is a huge red flag,” Sgt. Sanjay Kumar said in the release. “If you are ever contacted out of the blue by someone demanding cryptocurrency it’s a scam.”

There have been at least four cryptocurrency scam victims in the last three weeks, he added.

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