North Vancouver RCMP are requesting help from the public to identify a woman who may be connected to scamming a North Vancouver senior out of $9,000.
Earlier this month, police reported a string of six similar incidents targeting seniors.
Known as the “bail scam”, the scheme involves fraudsters who convince older people their loved ones need cash to bail them out of jail.
In one incident Sept. 8, a woman in her 80s received a call from a man who claimed to be Cpl. Jefferson from North Vancouver RCMP. The suspect claimed that the woman's granddaughter had been arrested by police and needed $9,000 to be released on bail, according to police.
The female fraudster then came to the victim's home and picked up the money, police said.
CCTV images released
On Monday (Sept. 26), police released CCTV images of a suspect in an effort to further the investigation.
Police are asking anyone who may recognize the woman to contact North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311 and quote file #22-22813.
Police believe the woman may be connected with several other similar scams on seniors that happened in North Vancouver Sept. 8 and 9.
There are always scams targeting elderly people, RCMP Const. Mansoor Sahak told the North Shore News. "But with this one, they're very convincing."
"They're very bold. They show up in person, which is a safety concern."
The same day, another woman in her 70s received a similar call telling her that her granddaughter was in jail and needed $9,000 for bail. But that woman went to the North Vancouver RCMP detachment to pay the bail, where she was informed by staff she was being scammed, police said.
RCMP have issued previous warnings about the
bail scam and are renewing their appeal to the public to be wary, and to help protect friends and family members who may be targeted.
How to prevent being scammed
The best offence is a good defence, said Sahak. Share these tips with anyone who may be vulnerable, particularly our elderly community who are often targeted by these fraud artists.
- Report the scam call to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s online reporting system or call them toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.
- Be careful about posting personal details and names of family members on social media platforms.
- Privatize your social media accounts and protect your personal information.
- Change your online passwords to be difficult and all different from each other.
- Be careful with caller ID numbers that look familiar. Scammers use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from to make it appear as a trusted phone number
Fraudster arrested this summer in West Van
In July, one man was arrested after being caught in the act of attempting to bilk a West Vancouver senior out of $16,000 in a similar scam. The incident took place on July 19, when the 80-year-old victim received a call at home from an "officer Baker" with the North Vancouver RCMP, telling him his grandson had been arrested and needed bail money in order to be released, according to a release from West Vancouver Police Department Const. Nicole Braithwaite.
The fraudster then handed the phone to another man who pretended to be the grandson. Together, they were able to convince the senior to withdraw $16,000 and wait at home for someone who could come collect the cash.
When the suspect arrived, wearing plain clothes with no police ID, the senior became suspicious. The fraudster claimed Officer Baker would be arriving shortly but luckily in that case, the real police were on the scene first.