Grandmother prevents fraudsters from robbing her
Phone fraudsters in Canada messed with the wrong person when they sought money from a woman in Windsor, Ontario, who then planned with local police to capture them.
The woman, who received a suspicious call from a man posing as her grandson on Wednesday, was set up to be a victim of one of the "grandparent scams" that prey on seniors in Canada and elsewhere. She told reporters at a news conference that the caller claimed he had been arrested after an accident, cried, and said he loved her.
He stated that he required bail in the amount of $9,300 Canadian dollars, or $6,800.
The woman, identified by the Windsor Police Service as Bonnie Bednarik, addressed the man by a name other than that of her grandson. She then established her own sting operation. Bednarik, 74, told reporters she pretended she needed to call the bank and borrow a car from her husband. In the meantime, she was working with police to set up surveillance around her house.
According to a police report released on Thursday, when two suspects arrived to claim the money, officers apprehended them. In addition, the police recovered two packages containing money from two previous scams, one of which was in a town about 30 minutes away.
Two suspects were apprehended: a 19-year-old man from Windsor and a 22-year-old man from Tecumseh, Ontario. Each has been charged with two counts of fraud involving more than $5,000.
Grandparent scams target the elderly and usually involve the scammer pretending to be a relative in distress and in need of money.
In 2022, Canada saw more than 9.2 million Canadian dollars lost to "emergency scams," which include grandparent scams, a February statement from the Canadian government said. It marked an almost fourfold increase from the 2.4 million Canadian dollars in losses reported in 2021.
This summer, seniors in Winnipeg, Manitoba, were scammed of 100,000 Canadian dollars in less than six days by grandparent fraudsters.
"While charges have been made in this matter, the Windsor Police Service continues to warn community members to be alert when receiving phone calls from persons pretending to be a family," the agency stated in a statement.
"Fraudsters prey on our emotions and our caring nature," Dominic Chong, a detective superintendent with the Ontario Provincial Police, said in February concerning the spike in scam crimes. "Scammers use our concerns and scam our elders out of thousands of dollars everyday across our province."