Police warn of scams

  • Dec. 1, 2010 4:36 p.m.

Local RCMP say over the past few months there has been a significant hike in the number of complaints regarding scams.

“Emergency scams, also known as Grandparent scams have been occurring rather frequently, and that has the Red Deer City RCMP concerned,” said Cpl. Kathe DeHeer of the Red Deer city RCMP.

Typically, scammers call seniors and claim some kind of misfortune, and then they ask for money.

DeHeer said in Red Deer the most common scenarios are that the caller is in a foreign country and needs money, and they are in jail and require bail.

Often, the caller will start off the conversation by saying ‘Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?’ The victim may reply by guessing the name of the grandchild thereby giving the fraudster the information they need.

Police say there is also always an element of urgency to the calls, with the fraudster saying things like “Please don’t tell mom and dad” or “Please don’t tell anyone – I’m so embarrassed.”

In most cases, the fraudster requests that money be sent via a money order which are difficult to trace.

Fraudsters also often spoof phone numbers, police say. This means that the number showing on call display isn’t the one they are calling from.

The number, for example, may show up as a local exchange when it’s actually coming from as far away as Montreal. It may also show up at 000-000-0000.

Police recommend never giving out personal information over the phone, and never allowing anyone to rush you into making a decision.

They also encourage folks to call the Red Deer city RCMP to verify the legitimacy of a call, and to speak to a trusted family member before sending money.