Vancouver police renew warning about scam targeting seniors

·1 min read
A still taken from front door surveillance video at an elderly Vancouver couple's home shows scammer 'Chris' arriving to pick up so-called bail money for their nephew who the couple believed had been arrested in a car accident. (Vancouver police - image credit)

Vancouver police are again warning seniors to be wary of strangers at their doorstep, as a number of elderly people continue to be tricked into handing over thousands of dollars in cash.

Police are also asking financial institutions to watch out for seniors making unusually large withdrawals.

"Vancouver Police is now investigating more than a dozen incidents since Jan. 11, in which seniors were fooled into thinking their loved ones have been arrested and need bail money," Const. Tania Visintin said Thursday in a statement.

She warned the fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and creative to avoid being caught.

The latest incident happened Jan. 26, when a 73-year-old woman from South Vancouver received a call from someone posing as her granddaughter, claiming to be in jail and needing $10,000 for bail.

Police believe the fraudster researched the victim through social media to learn specific details about her, then targeted her specifically.

Visintin is recommending family members consider privatizing sensitive information on social media and is asking anyone who works at a financial institution to look out for their elderly clients.

"People who work at banks play a critical role in fraud prevention," said Visintin. "They often know their elderly clients by name, know their routines and are sometimes the first people to realize when something doesn't seem right."

Anyone who has fallen victim to this crime or has information about such a crime is asked to call the Vancouver police non-emergency line at 604-717-3321.

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