TIMMINS - A rise in phone scams has prompted the Timmins Police Service to put out a warning for seniors.
Known commonly as the grandparent scam, an anonymous caller will phone a senior pretending to be their grandchild in order to receive money. While the story can vary such as the pretend grandchild saying they are in jail, the goal is to play on the target's emotions.
Police reported two such incidents in October.
To help combat these types of scams, Timmins police gave a presentation at the Timmins Seniors Recreation Centre on Tuesday.
The main points included verifying a situation if a loved one needs money by calling friends and family, never giving out credit card information to a caller over the phone, and if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
TPS Deputy Chief Des Walsh said these kinds of scams go in waves with some years being more problematic than others. He said even his family has experienced it.
Walsh explained his mother-in-law had someone call her claiming to be her grandson. He told her that he was in trouble and was being held by the Montreal police and needed money to get out of jail. Walsh said his mother-in-law started asking questions and after several minutes doubted the claim and hung up.
“It just goes to show that this type of scam can happen very close to home,” he said. “These types of scams tend to come in ebb and flows.
“Right now we're in those periods where this particular scam is very prevalent because we have been getting reports of this type of activity at our office.”
Walsh said they have also been noticing more email scams than telephone. It's so prevalent that even the Timmins police get email scams sent to them.
Walsh said if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
“Public education is our greatest tool right now,” he added. “Beware, be very careful with your personal information and, I'll repeat it again, if something sounds too good to be true, it is.”