Red Deer RCMP are advising the public that there has been an increase in the number of “Grandparent Scams” reported to the Detachment this month. These scams are also referred to as “Emergency Scams” or “Grandchild” scams.

No matter the name, these scams often involve a phone call being placed to the victim claiming a loved one is in trouble with the courts or law enforcement, and a payment is needed to help them. The suspects will often pretend to be a police officer, judge, or family member. Suspects will usually ask for cash, however more recently they have been asking for payment by Bitcoin and gift cards.

Red Deer RCMP want to remind citizens of the following:

  • Never send or give money to anyone you don’t know or haven’t confirmed their identity
  • Bail is always paid in person at a courthouse or correctional centre, and is never in the form of giftcards or BitCoin
  • If a person claims to be a police officer or judge, call that police service or court house directly to confirm the situation and identity of the caller
  • Never give out personal information over the phone or online to someone you don’t know
  • If you receive a call from someone saying they are a friend or family member and they need emergency money, hang up and call them yourself to ensure the person is who they say they are. Fraudsters have the ability to change their caller id information to say anything they want. With new technology, there are also applications that can mimic the voice of anyone.

Police are asking the public to speak to their friends and family, of all ages, about these scams to help spread awareness and education. Though these particular scams have historically been aimed at the elderly, Red Deer RCMP advise the age of victims is now a broad range from young teenagers, young adults, to the elderly.