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'Emergency' scams on the rise in Airdrie, Alta.

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RCMP at one southern Alberta detachment say they have received a larger number of reports of "emergency scams," also known as "grandparent scams," in the past couple of weeks.

Airdrie RCMP say the schemes are often conducted over the telephone, where victims are contacted by individuals who pretend to be police officers, judges or other family members. They're told their relative is in trouble, usually with the courts or law enforcement.

As a result, they're informed that if they want to help their loved one, it's going to cost them.

"Suspects will usually ask for cash; however, they may also ask for payment in gift cards, bitcoin or e-transfers," police said in a release.

"The scammers will then send an associate acting as a courier to pick up the money in person or ask the money be mailed."

RCMP say anyone who receives an unsolicited phone call like this should take precautions and consider the following before sending payment to anyone:

  • Bail is always paid in person at a courthouse or correctional centre;
  • Never send money to anyone you don't know;
  • Police officers and court officials will never demand cash to be picked up in person or mailed;
  • If someone calling you is claiming to be a police officer or judge, call the detachment or courthouse to confirm their identity; and
  • Never disclose any personal information over the phone or online to someone you don't know.

Anyone who believes they may have fallen victim to this or any other scam is encouraged to contact Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7200 or their local detachment as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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