Have you received a suspicious phone call claiming a loved one has found themselves in legal trouble?  

The Moose Jaw Police Service aims to bring awareness to the so called “Grandparent Scam”, the latest in a series of telephone-based frauds that are gaining traction in the Prairies. 

The swindle is simple and attempts to utilize urgency and concern for the wellbeing of your loved ones. The scammer will get in contact, typically impersonating a police officer, lawyer or judge, and will claim that your child or grandchild has committed a crime and that they will need to be sent money to resolve the issue. The money is usually requested in the form of Bitcoin or gift cards. 

Jay-D Haughton, Public Information and Strategic Communication Manager with the Moose Jaw Police Service, says that like any scam, the people involved are looking for money or valuable information that can be sold. 

“At the end of the day, they are all looking for the same thing, money or your personal information, potential access to your computer that could gain them access to your banking information, maybe your SIN or any of that personal information that they can impersonate you... and maybe sell it to the highest bidder,” says Haughton.

Haughton goes on to say that the Moose Jaw Police Service, lawyers, and judges will never phone you directly to demand money, and that such calls should raise immediate red flags. 

“If you are still unsure, always ask for a proof of ID and a callback number, never provide personal information over the phone, (through) e-mail or text.” 

Haughton says that the golden rule is to not to give out personal information, and that if it seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. He also suggests setting a safe word or phrase with details only known by family members. 

Last year the Moose Jaw Police Service had 330 reports of fraud.