People across Canada have been getting called by scam artists posing to be family members in need of money. The scammers tell the victims that they have been in an accident or arrested and need money quickly through a money transfer company.
The callers also tell their victims not to tell other relatives about their 'problems.'
Calgary Police encourage those who receive such a call to not transfer money until you know if the story is real. Ask the caller questions only true family members would know. If you believe you have been targeted call your local police department.
Sergeant Michelle Handley of Calgary Police Department said during a phone interview that Calgary has seen an increase of these crimes.
The con artists have been posing as the grandchildren or family friends of their victims. After convincing victims that there is a true need they sit back and wait for money to be sent.
"The suspects pose as the grandchild for a short amount of time passing the phone off to a "lawyer." By posing as a lawyer the call puts pressure on seniors. There is additional pressure not to call other relatives about the situation, " Handley explained when asked how the seniors are being duped.
Handley said that Phone Busters' web site tracks these type of scams. In December this scam, being played out across North America was in the top three scams.
Once money is sent to a money transfer it can be picked up anywhere in Canada. Handley said one victim thought she was sending money to a relative in Calgary when in fact the money went elsewhere. That victim lost $30,000.
At this time there have been no local arrests from the scam in Calgary.