Breaking News: Emergency Grandparent Scam Bust – 14 Arrested Across Canada

Project Sharp Hamilton

“Breaking News: Montréal Police Crack Down on Emergency Grandparent Scam

In a recent crackdown on fraudulent activities, the police in Montréal have apprehended 14 individuals linked to the notorious emergency grandparent scam that has been targeting victims all across Canada. This scam, which preys on seniors with landline telephones, has caused substantial financial losses to unsuspecting victims and their families.

The Operation Begins: Project Sharp

The investigation into the emergency grandparent scam began in September 2022 when the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch launched an intelligence probe. By February 2023, the probe had evolved into a full-fledged joint forces operation led by the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch, known as Project Sharp. This operation involved a total of 11 police services from Ontario and Quebec, working together to dismantle the criminal network behind the scam.

The Scam Unveiled: A Deceptive Scheme

The perpetrators of the emergency grandparent scam would impersonate law enforcement officers or lawyers and claim to have the victim’s grandchild or family member in custody. They would then demand bail money to secure the release of the supposedly detained family member. In most cases, money mules were utilized to collect the funds from the victims, who were instructed not to speak to anyone under the guise of a fake “gag order.” Since February 2022, this group of suspects has been responsible for over $2.2 million in losses reported across Canada.

The Impact: Financial Losses and Victimization

Between January 22, 2024, and April 8, 2024, a total of 126 victims fell prey to the organized crime group running the emergency grandparent scam, resulting in approximately $739,000 in losses. Shockingly, 15 of these victims were re-victimized multiple times, losing a staggering total of more than $243,000. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of investigators collaborating with financial institutions and the Canadian Bankers Association, over $559,000 in losses have been prevented or recovered.

Ultimately, the arrests made in connection to the emergency grandparent scam serve as a crucial step towards dismantling organized crime networks and protecting vulnerable individuals in our society. As we reflect on this unfortunate reality, it is essential to remain vigilant and informed about potential scams, empowering ourselves and our loved ones to safeguard against financial exploitation and deception.”



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