Calgary

Montreal man accused of defrauding 10 Albertans in grandparent scam

Police have charged a 28-year-old Montreal man with defrauding Albertans of tens of thousands of dollars in a so-called "grandparent scam."

Year-long investigation by Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal police and RCMP lead to charges

Calgary's Heidi Keeler lost $5,000 in a fraud after answering the telephone at her mother's Edmonton retirement lodge. (Maureen Miller/CBC)

Police have charged a 28-year-old Montreal man with defrauding Albertans of tens of thousands of dollars in a so-called "grandparent scam."

These scams often involve people calling elderly victims alleging to be a close relative who needs money due to an emergency of some sort.

The victims are convinced to send money to their alleged relative in the form of money transfers, prepaid credit cards or sending money via a courier.

The incidents often involve multiple people posing as the victim's relative, as well as members of insurance companies or lawyers.

A year-long investigation by Calgary, Edmonton and Montreal police, RCMP, Western Union and MoneyGram International resulted in the charges.

The man was arrested in Montreal last week and charged with 10 counts of fraud under $5,000, and 10 counts of theft under $5,000.

Investigators allege the man fraudulently obtained more than $30,000 from 10 victims living throughout Alberta. So far, Calgary police have received 139 complaints from victims, alleging more than $210,000 in losses by elderly victims.

Police say there are other victims throughout Alberta and B.C.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud, and has suffered a loss or has any information — such as suspicious phone numbers, is asked to call police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Police say people should not feel pressure to respond to a request until you have a chance to verify the story. They say never transfer money, or give out credit card or other financial information, until you can verify the person's identity and the story, and determine whether it is legitimate.

Ask the caller questions that only your family member would know the answer to. Ask for callback numbers in order to confirm the legitimacy of any call you receive.

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