Allow me to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. A tradition in our home is to give thanks and I wish to thank you for the honour of being your elected representative at City Hall.
These are challenging times for all of us, I believe it is more important than ever that elected officials are open and honest with information to all residents. Today I received the message below from Winnipeg Police. The Financial Crime Unit has noted a dramatic increase in the number of “Emergency” (also known as Grandparent Scam) reports. During the first six months of 2021 there have been 457 reports of such scams, involving 136 victims, reported to law enforcement across Canada. Total losses reported are $1,084, 699.82 Many cases are impacting people right here in Manitoba. How these scams work
Fraudsters target elderly citizens in a scheme in which they arrange for couriers to pick up bail money in person at the victim’s residence. Criminals contact their victims and pose as a grandchild, or another family member, in distress who has been arrested and needs bail money. They may also pose as a representative of the detained relative, such as an attorney or a bail-bondsman. Criminal actors then send couriers to collect the money in person from the victim’s residence. In some instances, ride share drivers are used to pick up the money.
A variation of the scheme involves phone call or email from someone claiming to be a friend or family member who is in some kind of trouble and requires money immediately. Fraudsters will call seniors claiming to be a close relative of friend. They will have the consumer confirm which one by asking them if they recognize who’s calling. From there, fraudsters will claim that there has been an accident and they require money immediately.
These crimes happen all too frequently. So, as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend and plan to connect with family and friends in person, over the phone or via screen time we encourage Manitobans to talk about these crimes with those you feel may be susceptible to such frauds.
Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself
Knowledge is key when it comes to preventing these frauds. Following are some tips you can share.
• Be careful with caller IDs that look familiar. Scammers may use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from (“spoof”) and make it appear as a trusted number.
• Be suspicious of telephone calls that require you to immediately take action and request bail money for a family member in distress. Contact the family member directly for confirmation.
• If a family member requests money urgently and provides instructions on how to proceed, do not volunteer information over the phone; wait for the caller to provide it. Some families use code words to confirm their identity.
• Confirm with other relatives the whereabouts of the family member or friend.
• Law enforcement and other legal entities will never make urgent requests for money.
• Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use personal information and pictures shared on social media platforms and dating sites for targeting purposes.
• Never send money or give personal information, including birthdays, addresses, or other contact information, to anyone you have only communicated with by telephone or online.
If you have been victimized
Many people fall victim to frauds and scams. If you have been a victim of a fraud, it’s important that you report it. Not only can it help you possibly recover any loss, it helps protect the community from future frauds and scams.
• Document all information about the fraud including receipts, copies of emails and/or text messages.
• Report your fraud to police:
• If you have suffered a financial loss and the value is less than $25,000 CDN; submit your report to us online.
• If you have suffered a financial loss and the value is more than $25,000 CDN; call us at 204-986-6222 to make your report.
• If you are a victim of identity theft; submit your report to us online.
• Report your fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre:
• The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre collects information on all frauds, scams and identity theft, whether you suffered a financial loss or not.
• If you did not suffer a financial loss and are reporting a telephone, letter or internet fraud, there is no need to contact the Winnipeg Police Service; report directly to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre - 1-888-495-8501.
Please take note, and be safe this long weekend.
Thank you - Chi-Miigwetch - Merci