Skip to content

Suspect arrested after woman, 67, loses $57K in grandparent scam

22-year-old Mississauga man faces multiple charges, including extortion and fraud, York Regional Police say
2020 12 01 YRP cruiser DK

A 22-year-old Mississauga man has been arrested after a 67-year-old Vaughan woman reported she had lost $57,000 in a grandparent scam. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, investigators received information from the victim that she had been contacted by suspects claiming to be a police officer and a judge, according to York Regional Police.

Then on Monday, Jan. 23, the victim received another call from a suspect who identified himself as a judge, telling her that she needed to provide $5,000 more and that a courier would come to her residence to pick up the money.

A suspect arrived at the residence and took a package from the victim, police said. Investigators were able to stop the vehicle nearby and arrest a suspect, police said.

Austin Sztuka, 22, is charged with fraud over $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime, and extortion, police said.

Typically in a grandparent scam, criminals will call an elderly person while posing as their grandchild in distress, demanding money to get them out of trouble. In some cases, a second suspect will play the role of a government official, a police officer or a lawyer who 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, as well as tips to avoid becoming a victim, are available on this website

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 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?

Police encourage citizens to share fraud prevention tips with friends and family, especially seniors or newcomers to Canada, who are frequently targeted as 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 and suspicious.

If you have been a victim of a fraud, and have not lost any money, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501. To report an incident if you have lost money, please visit this website or call York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423.