89 year old grandfather loses $17K in fraud

A 89-year old man who was convinced he was helping his grandson out of a jam has been bilked out of $17,000.

Sarnia police say the man received a number of calls from a man saying he was his grandson, that he had crashed a rental car in Montreal and needed money for damages. The fake grandson called a number of times, asking for money for insurance and bail.

Police had talked to the elderly man a number of times about the caller, but he was convinced to help and sent money by courier. In April, the elderly man called his real grandson and found he had never asked for money. Sarnia police worked with their counterparts in Quebec and managed to retrieve $3,500 back – but that’s rare in what police commonly call the “Grandparent Scam.”

In all, the Sarnia man lost $17,000.

Sarnia police say the scam is all to common and seniors are vulnerable because they are more trusting and polite, have excellent credit ratings and have easy access to cash – their retirement nest egg. Police are urging families to have open lines of communication so seniors will talk about any suspicions they have.

If you do suspect the scam you can call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

– Heather Wright