A 66-year-old man from Chateauguay, Que. has been arrested in connection with a $46,000 fraud investigation following a series of grandparent and emergency scams in York Region.
Last January, York Regional Police's financial crimes unit began an investigation into several grandparent and emergency scams reported across the region, police said. At least six of the incidents involved a male suspect and a blue Toyota Yaris.
Deonarine Rooplal is charged with fraud over $5,000 (six counts), extortion (six counts), and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000 (six counts), police said.
The investigation is ongoing, and officers are seeking additional victims who have not yet come forward.
Emergency scams are often called grandparent scams because fraudsters will prey on a grandparent’s bond with their grandchild in an effort to defraud them. Often criminals will place a telephone call posing as a grandchild in distress, demanding money to get them out of trouble, police said.
In some cases, a second suspect will play the role of a government official, a police officer or lawyer who then provides instructions on how the victim can deliver the money. These types of frauds may be repeated over the course of days, weeks or even months, as the criminals gain the trust of their victims.
A list of ongoing scams, including grandparent scams, and tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud are available at yrp.ca/fraud.
Crime prevention tips:
- Never offer personal or financial information to the caller
- Call the grandchild or family member in question at a phone number you recognize as their own
- Ask the caller personal questions that only your grandchild could answer, but an imposter could not
- Verify the story or information with the family first
- Press the caller for details if they identify as a government official and verify their information
- Never send money to someone you don’t know
- Please take some time and ask yourself: “Could this be a scam?” “Does it make sense?”
We encourage citizens to share fraud prevention tips with friends and family, especially seniors or newcomers to Canada, who are frequently the targeted victims. Employees at financial institutions and courier services are being asked to help identify citizens that may be a target of a grandparent scam and to contact police if something appears unusual or suspicious.
If you have been a victim of fraud, and have lost money, report the incident promptly to the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit either online at yrp.ca/ReportIt or by calling 1-866-876-5423. To report frauds where no money has been lost, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.