These confidence-fraud scams accounted for the highest reported losses in seniors in 2020, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CAFC).
In these kinds of scams, criminals pose as family members or attorneys representing them and contact their marks by telephone to request bail money. A family member has been arrested, the criminals say, and needs help to get out of jail. Once the bail money has been promised, criminals arrange for a courier or rideshare driver to pick it up in person at the victim’s residence, and it is never seen again.
The OPP urges people to be cautious, as it is almost impossible to track the money down once it has left the victim’s hands. Be careful when posting online, as information from social media can be used to convince potential victims that the caller knows them. Caller ID is not always reliable as there are tools that can disguise one number as another in a contact list. Be wary of calls that require immediate action without talking to the family member in question first. Never give information or money to someone known just from online contact or by phone. Always meet them in person to verify their identity.
Anyone with information regarding any criminal activity should contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477. Visit www.CrimeStoppers.ca for more information. Anyone who has been the target of a scam, should contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.