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Two more people have been charged in a fraud scheme known as the 'grandparent scam'

A Calgary police cruiser is seen next to crime scene tape in a stock photo. A Calgary police cruiser is seen next to crime scene tape in a stock photo.

Since the start of 2022, Calgary police estimate that more than $1.6 million has been stolen from around 122 Calgary seniors in the scam.

Even more concerning, it's getting worse – police believe 93 incidents have already taken place in September, with 35 victims losing money.

Three individuals have been arrested and charged, including one who was caught in the act over the past few weeks.

Two more were arrested and have now been charged. Police aren't sure whether the suspects are connected to one another.

Victims are contacted by someone who has detailed information about them and they pretend to be a relative, or police officer, or someone from the legal system like an attorney or bail bondsman who requests money to help a loved one.

Once hooked, the victim is advised to go to a bank and withdraw cash, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000.

Then a 'courier' or 'bail bondsman' appears at their home to collect cash.

In August, one victim was defrauded of more than $300,000.

"These unscrupulous scammers use personalized information to legitimize their claims, preying on the good will of seniors who will do anything to look after their family members. Any senior, not just those with cognitive concerns, can be victimized by these individuals. It is up to us as Calgarians, as employees in businesses or services in contact with seniors and as family members, to help educate the seniors in our lives about these scams," said Calgary Police Service Staff Sgt. Andrea Koolick in a release.

Sebastian Pulgarin Osorio, 29, was charged with five counts of defrauding a person over $5,000.  He is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, Oct.5.

Martina Kristal Valentini, 38, was charged with two counts of defrauding a person over $5,000. She is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, Oct. 14.

Police remind the public that bail payments can only be paid in person at the courthouse or correctional centres and receipts are issued.

Canadian currency, debit and credit cards are the only accepted forms of payment. Gift cards, e-transfers and cheques aren't accepted.

In the majority of situations, the person who needs to make bail will call, not a member of the police.

More information about how the grandparent scam is played out is available on the Calgary Police Service website.

When in doubt, people are advised to verify the story they are being told by contacting the alleged family member directly or a third-party family member to help confirm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Calgary police at 403-266-1234. Anonymous callers can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or by downloading the P3 Tips app available at Apple or the Google Play Store. Top Stories

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