Skip to content

Police say Innisfil senior bilked of 'several thousand dollars'

Woman, 75, received phone call from man claiming to be a lawyer; he said her friend had been in a collision and needed money for bail
scam highlighter
Stock image

The South Simcoe Police Service is warning the public about a so-called "emergency scam" after an Innisfil senior was defrauded of "several thousand dollars."

Police say the 75-year-old victim recently received a phone call from a man claiming to be a lawyer.

The fake lawyer said the victim's friend had been in a collision and needed several thousand dollars for bail, according to police. The victim obtained the cash and within one hour, a male suspect arrived at her door to pick up the funds "before the courthouse closed."

After handing over the money, police say the victim became suspicious. She looked up the lawyer's contact and called him directly only to confirm he was not involved. The real lawyer urged her to call the police.

Police say the emergency scam, and its variation known as the "grandparent scam," continue to circulate in our communities. Police urge you to share this information from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre with your loved ones to help reduce the risk of being a victim.

Emergency scams prey on your fear of a loved one or friend being hurt or in trouble. Police say the scenarios they may use include:
    •    Needing bail money because they've been arrested
    •    Being in a car accident
    •    Trouble returning from a foreign country

Fraudsters will:
    •    Claim to be law enforcement officials, lawyers and/or impersonate a grandchild/family member
    •    Use urgency and threats to convince you to take out money
    •    Claim that there is a "gag order" preventing you from speaking about the situation
    •    If you agree to pay the requested amount (cash or cryptocurrency), fraudsters will arrange to pick up the funds in person or will ask you to send cash in the mail

How to protect yourself:
    •    If you receive a phone call claiming to be from a family member in an emergency situation, hang up the phone and contact them directly using a phone number you already have – not one provided by the suspected fraudster
    •    If the caller claims to be a law enforcement official, hang up and call your local police directly, using a phone number from a reputable source – not one provided by the suspected fraudster
    •    Be suspicious of telephone calls that require you to immediately act and request money for a family member in distress
    •    Listen to that inner voice that is screaming at you "This doesn't sound right"
    •    It is important to know the Canadian Criminal Justice System does not allow for someone to be bailed out of jail with cash or cryptocurrency
    •    Be careful what you post online. Scammers can get details that you shared on social media platforms and dating sites to target you or get names and details about your loved ones
    •    Don't trust caller ID names and numbers. Scammers use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from and can make it appear as a trusted phone number, also known as spoofing