Tuesday, December 22, 2009

OPP Warns Public About Scam Targeting Grandparents

Email Hackers Pose as Family Member or Friend in Trouble

ORILLIA, ONTARIO, December 18, 2009 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), in cooperation with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), is warning people about a variation of the widespread "Emergency Scam" or "Grandparent Scam".

Traditionally operating as a telemarketing scam throughout North America, fraudsters contact potential victims while posing as a family member or friend in urgent need of cash. Often the scenario involves an accident or arrest, with a request that cash be sent through a money transfer company, such as Western Union or Money Gram.

In a recent variation of this scam, compromised contact lists from hijacked email accounts are used to send the potential victim an "urgent" email request for money from a friend or relative with whom they have a correspondence. Common themes continue to be hospitalization or imprisonment. The friend or relative is unaware that their account has been used to send out these requests to everyone on their contact list.

The OPP strongly suggests that anyone receiving a request for money, takes measures to verify the requestor's identity and the veracity of their story. Anyone who suspects an attempt at victimization is urged to call the CAFC at 888-495-8501.

Formerly known as Phonebusters, the CAFC was established in January 1993 and is jointly operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Competition Bureau Canada.

Visit their website at www.phonebusters.com. Specific information on the "Emergency Scam" can be found in "List of Scams".