A man is speaking out about a scam that his parents were swindled by in Abbotsford this week.
He said a group of criminals has taken them for a “large sum of money” by pretending to be a grandchild, a police officer and a courier for a judge.
The Abbotsford Police media spokesperson Const. Paul Walker confirmed that this has been happening in Abbotsford. The News is protecting the identity of the family involved, but sharing the story to let others know to be wary of these kinds of phone calls.
“How it works,” the man said. “A young-sounding male (or female) will call an elderly person and say ‘Hi, Grandpa’ or ‘Hi, Grandma,’ and if you reply with the name of the grandchild they think it sounds like then the scammer will pretend they are this grandchild.”
From there, the grandparent will hear a story about the young adult being in a car accident or has been pulled over by police with drugs found in the trunk — innocently, of course.
“They will say they’ve been arrested and need to post bail,” the man said. “A fake cop will even get on the line and verify the story (a very good actor) and often multiple calls will be made from the ‘police station.’”
The callers will work together to convince the victim that this “grandchild” is innocent and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the hook is that the bail needs to be paid in cash, and that a courier is on the way to pick it up.
“In the case of my parents, the courier was a girl in her 20s with pink hair,” he said. And while the girl was there, the “police” called to distract them so they didn’t think to grab any details such as a licence plate, or ask further questions.
“The scammers use multiple actors and also use sound effects like police radios and scanners and the sounds of an office,” the man said.
He did not disclose how much money his parents were tricked out of, but he wants people across the Lower Mainland, and especially Abbotsford, to talk to others about the scam to help protect more older people.
The scam is taking place in other nearby communities as well.