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Teenager Caught Siphoning off Cash From Elderly People as Part of 'Grandparent Scam'

Emotional fraud schemes in the community are growing at a fast pace.
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

In a series of turbulent events, an 18-year-old found himself in custody after allegedly trying to scam vulnerable seniors in Stratford. Considering the nature of the fraudulent scheme, the police have aptly labeled this scheme the "grandparent scam," and the accused is now facing multiple charges, including fraud, extortion, and resisting arrest.

Pexels | Photo by Kindel Media
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Kindel Media

The victims, all seniors, received distressing phone calls from an individual claiming to be a police officer. The fraudulent caller claimed that their grandsons had been arrested on drug charges and needed bail payments for release. Distraught and concerned for their family members, the unsuspecting seniors complied with the caller's demands.

Pexels | Photo by Kampus Production
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Kampus Production

In the first instance, a complainant handed over a sum of $8,400 in cash as bail on January 12, but later realized that the entire episode was a scam and reported it to the police. The second victim suffered a similar fate and lost $7,300 after making an in-person "bail payment." The third senior, however, took a more cautious approach, reaching out to family before proceeding with the $7,000 payment, and the police intervened in time.

In response to the complaints, law enforcement officers were quick to make a move. Upon receiving information about the scheduled pick-up for the third payment, officers arrived at the location and identified a young man matching the description provided by previous victims. The ensuing arrest was not without resistance, but thankfully, no injuries were reported.

Pexels | Photo by Rosemary Ketchum
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Rosemary Ketchum

The accused is now facing three counts of fraud involving amounts exceeding $5,000, three counts of extortion, and one count of resisting arrest. The legal process is set to unfold, with the suspect held in custody awaiting a bail hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

The "grandparent scam" is not a new phenomenon and unfortunately, seems to be on the rise. This deceptive tactic, preying on the emotional concern grandparents have for their grandchildren, has been a cause for concern across Southwestern Ontario. Authorities have warned the residents against unexpected calls seeking large amounts of money.

The Stratford case is not one of its kind. Similar scams have been reported in various communities across the region. In February 2023, a senior citizen from the Strathroy area fell into the trap and lost around $8,000.

In July 2022, the London police issued a public warning after multiple complaints were received regarding this type of fraud. Another incident involved a man from St. Thomas. Posing as an RCMP officer, the scammer convinced the man to pay $10,000 to prevent his grandson from facing criminal charges.

Pexels | Photo by Monstera Production
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Monstera Production

As the legal proceedings unfold in the case of the Brampton teen accused of carrying out the "grandparent scam" in Stratford, authorities urge individuals to verify the authenticity of unexpected calls and to reach out directly to the concerned parties before taking any action. The "grandparent scam" is a distressing scheme, but with awareness and caution, communities can work together to mitigate its impact on seniors.