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126 victims of emergency grandparent scam — police arrest 14 scammers

More than $739,000 was swindled from 126 victims. 15 were re-victimized multiple times losing more than $243,000
In a typical emergency/grandparent scam, the victim will receive a frantic phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one. 

Police have arrested 14 in Montréal linked to the emergency grandparent scam that targeted victims across Canada.

In September 2022, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch began an intelligence probe into a group involved in the fraud. In February 2023, the probe was formalized as an OPP Criminal Investigation Branch led joint forces operation (JFO), known as Project Sharp, and consisted of 11 Ontario and Quebec police services.

Aimed at seniors with a landline telephone, the group using the emergency grandparent scam pretended to be an officer or a lawyer and claimed to have the victim's grandchild or family member in custody. They would request bail money to secure the victim's family member's release.

In most cases, "money mules" (unsuspecting couriers) were used to collect the money. The victims were instructed not to speak to anyone due to a "gag order" they said was in effect. Since February 2022, the group of suspects has been responsible for over $2.2 million in reported losses Canada-wide. 

From January 22 to April 8, 2024, 126 identified victims lost approximately $739,000 to the organized crime group running the fraud. Of these 126 victims, 15 were re-victimized multiple times losing more than $243,000. Investigators have worked with financial institutions and the Canadian Bankers Association to prevent or recover more than $559,000 in losses.

Though victims were located across Canada, the majority of the targeted individuals live in Ontario, with an age range of 46 to 95 years old. All of the victims were provided support and fraud prevention material.

As a result of the investigation, 14 individuals were arrested and 56 charges were laid. 

Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of the emergency grandparent scam or any fraud is urged to contact their local police, the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or You can also report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre's online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501.

For resources on scams and fraud, visit