A 25-year-old Montreal man has been arrested in connection with an alleged fraud aimed at a senior citizen in the East Toronto area.
According to Toronto police, the man was arrested in the Main Street and Gerrard Street East area on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
Police alleged that a man made several phone calls to an elderly man asking for money. The senior eventually turned over a large sum of money to the man, police alleged.
Isaiah Wilson, 25, of Montreal is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000.
Toronto police are warning seniors to be wary of anyone contacting them and asking for money in any circumstances including claiming to be a relative or representative of a government agency.
Police said some of the most common scams include a person posing as a grandchild and saying they are in trouble and need money immediately.
This is known as the “Grandparent Scam” and all seniors need to be aware of it.
According to the Toronto Police Financial Crimes Unit the scam works as follows:
“A grandparent receives an unexpected call from a person claiming to be their grandchild. The caller will say it is an emergency and ask that you send money immediately.
“How do these scammers choose who to contact? They obtain your information from marketing lists, social networking sites, and telephone listings.
“How do these scammers know the names of your grandchild? They don’t. Sometimes you will mention it or from an obituary, and again social networking sites.”
Police said seniors can protect themselves from these and other scams by always checking with another trusted family member if you receive a call from someone claiming to know you and asking for help. Also, ask the caller questions that would be hard for a stranger to answer. And most importantly, do not give or send money, gift cards or anything else to them.
In the last two weeks, Beach Metro Community News has received calls from two residents who are senior citizens who said that they had been targeted in the “Grandparent Scam”. In both of those cases, the local seniors did not give money to the people trying to scam them.
In one case, the person who made the call was extremely convincing and even put a second person on the phone claiming to be a lawyer organizing bail for their grandson.
“A young man called me crying on the phone and he sounded just like my grandson. He said he had crashed into another car and was at the police station. He said he had hit a pregnant woman driving the other car and he had been arrested and needed bail,” one of the targeted seniors told Beach Metro Community News.
The senior said the person pretending to the grandson also said he had a sore throat (perhaps to be used as an excuse if his voice did not sound right) and had been driving to the drug store to get medicine.
The senior told Beach Metro Community News that they then used the name of their grandson in the conversation to ask if he was OK, and from that point on another person came on the line claiming to be a lawyer and repeatedly used the grandson’s name.
The person said not to call any other family members as the grandson was afraid of getting in trouble with his parents and the only way to pay bail was by cash, not cheque.
“At this point I believed every word. He said my grandson would only be released if I got $7,000 cash and I said I would try,” said the targeted senior.
The person pretending to be the “lawyer” would phone back in a while to see if the senior had been able to get the cash together.
The targeted senior then made a very wise decision in phoning the parent of the grandson claiming to be in trouble to see if they could help.
“My daughter told me my grandson was at home in his room and that it was a scam.”
What so concerned the senior who contacted Beach Metro Community News was how convincing the person claiming to be the grandson was.
“There’s this boy crying down the phone…he was so convincing. I believed it. I would have gone and got the $7,000 out of the bank, if I hadn’t phoned my daughter.”
Toronto police said anyone who suspects a fraud or attempted fraud against them, can call the police non-emergency number at 416-808-2222.
Also, anyone who may have information about the incident in the Main and Gerrard area is asked to call police in 55 Division at 416-808-5500 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 or online at https://www.222tips.com
Seniors looking for more information on how to protect themselves against fraud and attempted scams can go to https://antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/scams-fraudes/azindex-eng.htm