On June 18, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Manitoulin detachment investigated a fraud complaint by an Espanola resident. A phone call was received requesting money for bail and lawyer costs for their son who was apparently in jail. Fraudsters requested $9,000 be placed in a magazine and mailed to an address. The complainants recognized the fraud and no money changed hands.
The OPP wants to remind the public that this is an example of “emergency” fraud. Scammers target potential victims with the emergency pitch, describing an urgent situation requiring immediate funds. Common themes have been that the family member was arrested, or got into an accident while travelling abroad and require monies for hospital expenses. Usually the potential victim is instructed to send money via a money service business like Western Union or MoneyGram, or like in this instance, through the mail.
The OPP caution that if you receive a call like this remember to protect yourself by confirming with other relatives the whereabouts of the family member or friend. Police, judges or legal entities will never make an urgent request for money. Never voluntarily give out family member’s names or information to unknown callers. Always question urgent requests for money.
The Manitoulin OPP wants to advise that there are many types of scams active in Ontario. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is a resource to access the known frauds in Ontario and can be reached if you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud. Please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.