Toronto resident charged with ‘grandparents’ phone scam in Kingston, Ontario, police say

Police in Kingston, Ont. are issuing a warning about an ongoing phone scam known as the ‘grandparents’ scam, following the arrest of a 27-year-old Toronto resident.

The individual is charged with one count of attempted fraud of more than $5,000 in connection with an investigation of a phone scam, according to Kingston police.

No other information about the investigation was released.

“Police have received an increase in reports about this scam,” police said in a news release Saturday afternoon. “This type of scam typically targets seniors by contacting them on the phone and informing them that a member of their family, often a child or grandchild, has been arrested, often after an alleged car accident.”

Police say the scam will have the caller initially pretend to be a grandchild and claim they have a cold or COVID as a way to explain the change in the sound of their voice. At some point, the victim will be handed over to another person pretending to be the grandson’s attorney, and that person will say that she needs cash sent to her to get the grandson released on bail.

Kingston police say that in recent cases, the ‘lawyer’ claims he will send a ‘bailiff’ to collect the money once the victim has withdrawn the cash from the bank.

“The suspect then contacts a legitimate courier company and contracts with them to pick up a package from the victim, who has been instructed to place the cash in a shoe box,” police said.

“The courier then unknowingly facilitates the scam by transporting the money to a different location, where someone involved in the scam retrieves it.”

Police say cash is never required for bail, and you should never send money by courier.

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