Kingston woman victimized by credit card fraud after ‘grandparent scam’

17 February 2015

An 83-year-old woman in Kingston, Ontario, was targeted in a classic fraud tactic known as a “grandparent scam” last Thursday, January 22, according to local police. These scams usually involve the caller pretending to be the victim’s grandchild or a police officer, claiming that their grandchild is in trouble and needs money immediately. They will then ask for the victim’s credit card number.

In this case, the fraudsters impersonated a police officer, telling the woman that her grandson had been involved in a car accident and had been arrested for texting behind the wheel. The caller claimed that the woman needed to pay her grandson’s bail in order for him to be released. He then put another man on the phone, who pretended to be the grandson and asked for his grandmother’s credit card number. Out of worry and desire to help her grandson, the woman gave her credit card information to the callers.

The next day, she found that more than $5,000 was charged to her account. After calling her son, she realized the call had been fraudulent and alerted police.

Kingston police are recommending that seniors and those with senior relatives be on their guard for this type of call and verify with another relative if they receive a call about a grandchild in jail or in trouble in another country. They emphasize that the police never ask for credit card information over the phone, and that all bail proceedings are done in person at a court hearing. People with elderly relatives who don’t read the news should warn them about the risk of this type of scam.

To help mitigate some of the long-term effects of credit card fraud, it can be extremely helpful to subscribe to a credit alert and credit monitoring service.