Nanaimo RCMP are warning the public of scammers after a Nanaimo senior lost $14,000 to a man posing as her grandson over the phone.

Police say the 80-year-old female victim was persuaded over the course of nine days in early September to transfer the money, none of which has been recovered.

Family members of the victim contacted the RCMP on her behalf. They told police that scammers convinced her that she was helping her grandson get out of jail.

She was told that her grandson had been in a car accident in Montreal, was currently in police custody, and needed $7,500 to make bail.

The victim was also told not to communicate with her “grandson’s” mother.

Two other men were involved in the scam: one posing as a police officer and the other assuming the role of a lawyer.

The victim was told to transfer $7,500 via Purolator to an address in Montreal. The next day the scammer posing as a lawyer said an additional $6,500 was needed.

She transferred the additional money and the calls continued until September 9. At this time the victim became suspicious and stopped all communication.

Nanaimo RCMP has contacted local police in Quebec and an investigation has been launched in the jurisdiction where the calls originated.

“This was a classic situation of scammers tugging at the heart strings of the victim,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

“They took advantage of an elderly lady and exploited it to their advantage.”

The RCMP advises that anyone confronted with a scam take the following actions:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately. This is exactly what the scammers are hoping for. If you have any doubts, simply end the conversation.
  • Verify the caller’s identity. Ask the caller a personal question that only the real person would know. Then, before making any decisions, check the story out with a family member or friend, or call your local police agency.
  • Never send cash, gift cards or money transfers.

More information on scams in Canada can be found at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.