Bail Money Scam
April 28, 2022
The Wise Owls program is supported by the RCMP & Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association, and it aims to educate seniors. Seniors gain the necessary tools to recognize a problem, who to talk to, how to report it and where to go for more information. We provide awareness and education for seniors. While the senior population grows, so does their vulnerability to abuse. Elder abuse is any action or inaction by self or others that jeopardizes the health or well-being of any senior.
A new scam targeting seniors has made its way to our province. Reports of the new scam first came out of Vancouver, with Calgary Police reporting the same scam just a few short weeks later.
Seniors have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be a loved one, stating they have been arrested and require cash for bail. In some cases, the suspects claim to be phoning on behalf of a loved one, such as a grandchild, niece, or nephew. There have also been reports of suspects pretending to be law enforcement. The bail money request is often thousands of dollars.
Within minutes of the phone call, a suspect shows up at the victim’s door, claiming to be a representative from the police department or courthouse and that they are there to collect the money.
It is not uncommon for scammers to target the elderly by contacting them through the mail, telephone, or online, but what is most concerning with this new scam is that fraudsters are showing up at victims’ houses to collect cash. It raises concerns for people’s safety.
Local police in both Vancouver and Calgary are still investigating all reported incidents to help determine whether the scams are coming from an organized crime group or if it is a smaller gang of individuals.
Seniors are urged to use extreme caution when it comes to strangers who ask for money.
What should you do if you are a victim of fraud or a scam?
Never be embarrassed if you think you are the victim of a scam. Reporting is crucial to help prevent others from becoming victims. If you do not report, law enforcement does not have the information they need to prevent the crime from happening again or to pursue the criminal's responsible. Report scams and frauds by calling the police on the non-emergency line. (*NOT 911*)
Report crime online!
The RCMP are encouraging all Albertans to report eligible crimes online (select property crimes under $5,000). Reporting less serious crimes online helps emergency dispatch and frontline members focus their time on high-priority calls. It provides a convenient way to share photos to the RCMP as well. These reports assist in crime analysis, aid in establishing trends and patterns, and ultimately leads investigators to the chronic offenders. It also assists in making decisions about how and where to deploy resources. Crimes reported online will be taken just as seriously as crime reported in any other way.
Help reduce crime, report online! #ReportSmart
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