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Grandparent loses thousands to emergency scam in Huntsville

Phone scams. AP/CP file photo

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have issued a warning to residents after a woman was tricked out of thousands of dollars in the Town of Huntsville.

On May 4, police say a 67-year-old woman called police to report she was contacted on May 2 by someone she believed was her grandson and that he required “bond money.”

The woman said she had been directed to withdraw $7,450 from her bank, and the suspect arranged for the money to be picked up by a third party.

Officers say a local business had been hired to pick up the money and deliver it to an address out of province; the business was reportedly unaware of the fraud and is now cooperating with the police.

The victim told police she followed the instructions and only realized a few days later it was a fraud.

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Police are investigating this incident and are warning the public about these types of scams, where the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one in need of money.

OPP say the caller will explain that they are involved in some sort of mishap like a car accident, in police custody, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away.

Police say the scammer will often insist the victim does not tell anyone.

Police say the call could also involve someone claiming to be a law enforcement official, lawyer, or bailiff.

To avoid becoming a victim, police urge people to check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information before sending money or providing credit card information by phone or email.

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Police are asking the public to talk to their parents, grandparents and neighbours about this scam and tell them what to do if they receive such a call.

OPP recommend that anyone who receives a call like this hang up the phone and contact family members.

If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an emergency or grandparent scam, or any other scam report it to the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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