SD&G OPP warns about return of ’emergency scams’

SD&G — Provincial police from the Stormont Dundas & Glengarry detachment are warning the public about the recent resurfacing of a common scam known as the ‘the emergency scam’ or ‘the emergency/grandparent scam’.

On March 14th, the OPP received a report about a fraud case in South Glengarry Township. The victim in the matter lost $5500 following an individual contacting her claiming to be her grandson. Her ” grandson” told her he was in custody following a motor vehicle collision, he had minor injuries but needed money to pay the insurance company of the other vehicle involved. The victim then transferred the amount requested.

In these cases, the victim typically receives a frantic phone call or an emergency email from someone claiming to be a grandchild, friend or loved one. The scammer will explain they are involved in some sort of legal trouble, have been injured, or are having trouble returning from a foreign country and need money right away.

With the emergency/grandparent scam, the scammer attempts to create a sense of urgency, which may cause the victim to not verify the story. The scammer will often insist that the victim not tell anyone and to transfer the money that has been requested through a money transfer company. Also, scammers may attempt to get an individual’s banking and personal information.

Police advise people to be on the lookout for the following warning signs:

  • The scammer always makes the request sound very urgent, which may cause the victim to not verify the story.
  • The scammer plays on the victim’s emotions by generating a sense of fear. For instance, they may say, “I am scared and I need help from you.”
  • The scammer pleads with the victim not to tell anyone about the situation, such as, “Please don’t tell Dad, he would be so mad.”
  • Money is usually requested to be sent by a money transfer company such as Money Gram, Western Union or even through your own bank institution.

To avoid becoming a victim, police advise you to first check with another family member or trusted friend to verify the information BEFORE sending money or providing credit card information by phone or e-mail. It is vitally important that the incident be reported every time it occurs, to allow police to investigate and prevent others from becoming victims.

If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded, contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). You can file a report with the CAFC by calling 1-888-495-8501 (Monday to Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST) or by using their online reporting tool at


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