Vancouver police are warning of a troubling and brazen new scam that has left three seniors out thousands of dollars for fake legal fees – with the act being caught on a home security camera.
The scam, which was first reported on Jan. 12, targeted two groups of seniors in the same day. In the first instance, a couple in their 70s who live on the west side were called by a man who claimed their nephew had been in a car accident and needed $8,000 to get out of jail. The fraudster then went to the couple’s house where they gave him the money.
Later that day, police say a 75-year-old woman in Kitsilano was called with similar claims about her grandson. In this instance, the fraudster showed up and collected $9,000.
“It’s not uncommon for scammers to target the elderly by contacting them by mail, telephone, or online,” said Const. Tania Visintin. “What’s different and concerning is that fraudsters are now showing up at the victims’ doorsteps to collect cash. It’s brazen, and we’re concerned about peoples’ safety.”
Both incidents are being probed by financial crimes investigators. Police have also released footage of a person of interest in the act, and is urging anyone with information to contact the VPD.
“We’re reaching out to other police agencies to determine how far reaching this scam is,” Visintin said. “Until we know more, we urge everyone to be cautious about strangers who ask for money.”