The Russell County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to recognize a Rockland bank teller who realized a customer was being scammed and stopped the withdrawal of funds. Thanks to their quick thinking, the would-be victim was advised of the scam before the funds could be transferred.
On October 12, a fraudster called the victim stating he was a friend of hers and he needed money right away to deal with an emergency. The fraudster instructed the victim to go to the bank immediately, but the teller was immediately tipped off by the large amount of the withdrawal. The teller gently advised the victim of what was happening, telling her she should hang up, and then informed her of the scam that was being utilized.
In typical emergency or ‘grandparent’ scams, the victim receives a frantic phone call from someone, usually claiming to be a grandchild or other distant-yet-connected loved one. The fraudster claims to need money immediately to deal with some emergency, a car accident or being stuck in a foreign country, and plays upon fears of a loved one being in trouble.
Often, the first warning sign is that the scammer needs the money immediately and insists that the victim not tell anyone. The quickest way to suss out such a scam is to take your time, ask how the caller is related to you, and then hang up and verify that connection. Do not fall for ploys of urgency, fear, or secrecy.
Other safeguards include watching what you post online, as scammers can find personal information on social media such as names, phone numbers, and even vacation dates. Again, verify the story with a trusted family member or friend BEFORE sending money or credit card information.
If you or someone you know may have been the victim of an ’emergency’ scam, contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). You can also report the information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.