Barrie Police are investigating a grandparent fraud that played on the emotions of an elderly Barrie resident, leaving her feeling vulnerable, embarrassed and more than $2,500 poorer.
On Oct. 17, the victim, a 96-year-old resident of Barrie, received a phone call from an unknown individual, relaying bad news. The caller advised the victim’s grandson was involved in a vehicle collision out of province and he required money immediately. At one point during the conversation, a second male came on the line, claiming to be her grandson and begging for help, while pleading with her not to tell any other family members about his dire situation. The victim agreed to send $2500 and she was advised the caller had arranged for a delivery service to arrive later that afternoon to collect the funds. Shortly after 1 p.m., a delivery driver showed up at the victim’s apartment complex on Collier Street to collect the package. The money was exchanged and the victim was led to believe the money was on its way to her grandson.
These scams are often not reported to police. However, investigators encourage anyone that falls victim, whether the loss is small or large, to file a report immediately. Police also urge anyone who receives a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild, a loved one, or someone representing a family member, to take a moment to ensure the call is legitimate.
Take time to verify the story. Scammers are counting on you wanting to quickly help your loved one in an emergency. Call the parents, friends or other family members to find out about their whereabouts. Ask questions to the person on the phone that only your loved one would be able to answer and verify their identity before taking steps to help. Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust and never give out personal information to the caller. Be cautious of them asking questions, which may reveal information they can use to scam you further.
Jeremy Wong photo