Quebec police operation targets alleged 'grandparent scam' network

Police from the Montreal area are conducting raids to break up a network of alleged fraudsters who specialize in “grandparent scams."

Victims were in Montreal, elsewhere in Quebec and Canada

Montreal police conduct a search at a residence in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Wednesday, May 25, 2016. Police across the Montreal area participated in an operation related to breaking up an alleged fraud network specializing in grandparent scams. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Montreal police say so far, 19 people have been arrested in connection with an investigation into a network of alleged fraudsters who specialize in "grandparent scams."

Officers from Laval, Longueuil, Montreal and the Sûreté du Québec are involved in the operation in Montreal and surrounding cities.

The people targeted by the network at the centre of the police operation are located in Montreal, but also across Quebec and Canada.

"It was a operation very, very specialized with numerous branches," said Montreal police spokesperson Manuel Couture. 

"They attempt to extract money by inventing very, very credible stories. The elderly people can easily fall into the trap."

Typically as part of the scam, victims will receive a call or email from a supposed grandchild who is in some kind of trouble and needs money to be wired to them in a hurry.

Sometimes the call or email will purportedly come from the police officer or a doctor who has detained or is treating the "grandchild."

With the advent of social media, the fraudsters sometimes collect information about their victims to make their story more believable.