The Gleaner

Police report: Fraudsters arrested in Valleyfield

Police officers from the MRC de Beauharnois-Salaberry detachment of the Sûreté du Québec were called to investigate a case of attempted “grandparent fraud” in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield on February 7.

A 55-year-old woman reported that she had been contacted by someone posing as a lawyer who said her daughter had been involved in a collision with a pedestrian while on her cellular phone. The alleged lawyer then informed the victim her daughter needed $5,000 to post bail and be released.

Worried, the woman called her daughter directly only to discover this was a case of fraud. She immediately contacted the police. When officers arrived, the woman took part in a second discussion with the alleged lawyer over the phone, and they set up a meeting point.

Shortly after, a 19-year-old woman arrived at the scene, hoping to collect the money. She was arrested on the spot, and police were able to determine a second suspect was waiting nearby in a vehicle. The driver, a 23-year-old man, was also arrested in connection with this event.

Both suspects were subsequently released and could face charges related to fraud.

The Sûreté du Québec is using the details of this case as an opportunity to remind individuals of the importance of remaining especially vigilant, to avoid falling victim to grandparent fraud.

In a press release, the provincial police note they have received several reports of attempted fraud against seniors in recent weeks. Targeted individuals will often be contacted by telephone and will be told a loved one, often a grandson, has been imprisoned and needs several thousand dollars to be released. These telephone conversations sometimes involved fraudsters posing as either police officers or lawyers.

The SQ would like to remind citizens to practice due diligence before trusting anyone over the phone. Never give money to a stranger or to someone whose identity cannot be verified. If someone claims to be acting on behalf of a group or organization, contact the organization directly. Never divulge personal information to someone who cannot prove their legitimacy. Don’t trust anyone who is being too insistent or even insolent over the phone. Finally, if the phone call involves a loved one, call this person’s parents, another family member, or friends to verify whether there is any truth to the story being presented to you over the phone.

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