Police are warning citizens that there is a new twist on a recurring scam targeting seniors.
The Financial Crime Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division has received several reports where seniors are contacted by a suspect alleging to be their grandchild. The suspect claims to have an emergency while overseas and needs a sum of money for a lawyer to pay for damages or to post bail. This scam is not new and has been around for a number of years. The new twist is now when the victims refuse to send money, they are then contacted by someone pretending to be a lawyer. The “lawyer” advises them their grandchild will be released from custody but the lawyer requires their Social Insurance Number (SIN), date of birth and personal information to vouch that the grandchild will return after released. It has been determined that these calls are not legitimate and, in most cases, the suspect does not have the name of the grandchild and seeks this information from the victim as part of the scam. In the cases reported to police, none of the victims lost any money and did not provide their personal information.
Investigators reminds citizens to be suspicious of any calls asking for money and to make sure the call is legitimate before sending any money or making any donations. You should also not give personal information to anyone, whether solicitation occurs by telephone or in person, unless you have initiated the contact or you are certain of the identification of the individual and the legitimacy of the organization they claim to represent. Providing personal information such as SIN and date of birth could lead to identity theft.
If you have been the victim of a scam, you should report the matter to police by calling the Financial Crime Unit at 490-1985 or online at https://www.halifax.ca/police/NonDispatch/index.html