A New West senior was manipulated into handing over several thousand dollars to fraudsters who claimed they were collecting bail money for her grandson.
The New Westminster Police Department received a call from a senior in the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood, who told police she believed she’d been the victim of an elaborate and professional scam. In her Dec. 13 call to police, the woman told police she had received a call earlier in the evening from someone claiming to be her grandson; he said he’d been arrested for having a large amount of cannabis in his vehicle and he needed a large sum of money for bail.
“Someone posing as a police officer then got on the line and assured the woman that if she put the cash in an envelope someone would meet her outside her residence to pick it up and her grandson would be freed from jail,” said a NWPD news release. “The fraudster addressed this woman’s suspicions and assured her it was not a scam as her grandson was the one that called her.”
Police say someone met the senior outside her residence to collect the cash.
This suspect is described as a woman in her early 20s with light purple, wavy, shoulder-length hair, a faded charcoal sweatshirt, patterned leggings, pink Crocs, and standing 5’4” in height.
In speaking with the victim, a police officer learned the fraudsters had used techniques that encouraged the victim to share information that was later used to manipulate her. When the woman initially answered the phone, the fraudster exclaimed, “Hey grandma!” to which the victim responded with the name of her grandchild.
“It is despicable that criminals are using family bonds to manipulate seniors out of thousands of dollars,” said NWPD spokesperson Sgt. Justine Thom. “We’re asking people to speak to friends and family about this incident, and to share with them the techniques the fraudsters used. Knowledge is power, and we need more people to know about the scams.”
New West police officers are collecting evidence in an attempt to identify the suspect who met with the victim to collect the money. If the suspect description sounds like someone you know, you’re asked to call the New Westminster Police Department at 604-525-5411 and reference file 22-18829.