A would-be-scammer, looking to collect $25,000 for “bail money” from a Delta resident, instead was met by police at the door and arrested.
According to Delta Police, a Delta resident received a series of phone calls from someone claiming to be with the RCMP on Jan. 13, and was told she urgently needed to provide bail money for her grandson. Notably, the person on the line knew the name of her grandson. She was told to keep the conversation confidential.
“Unfortunately scammers will often pretend to be with police or government agencies, in order to gain the trust of the victim,” said Insp. Brian Hill. “Phone calls from these scammers may even appear to be coming from the agency or police department. However, we want the public to know it’s very easy for phone numbers to be faked or spoofed.”
In this case the victim handed over $10,000 on Jan. 13, to a person who collected the cash directly from her, at her home.
On Jan. 14, the scammers called back, saying the victim’s grandson needed additional money for probation, another $25,000.
“Fortunately she became suspicious, particularly when her supposed grandson was not able to answer questions,” added Hill. “She called Delta Police, and we immediately began an investigation. Thanks to her timely alert, our officers were in place when the suspect showed up at her door that evening.”
Police arrested the suspect without incident and are currently working with other police departments in the Metro Vancouver area to determine if this incident is linked to other similar complaints, some of which were recently publicized by media.
“I can also confirm that there are outstanding persons of interest in this matter, with whom the police would like to speak,” said Hill.
Police have not recovered the $10,000 that the victim initially handed over. No money was provided during the second instance.
Marie-Jeanne Belanger, age 22, of Quebec, is facing one charge of committing fraud over $5,000. She was released from custody on Jan. 17, on a number of conditions.
The public is cautioned that Canadian police will not contact you in any manner to request funds for bail money, probation, etc. If you suspect the person on phone pressuring you to hand over money may not be who they claim, hang up immediately. Use the internet to find a general number for that agency, and call them directly, to determine if there is any legitimacy to what is claimed.
If you believe you might have been the victim of fraud, please reach out to your police of jurisdiction to report the matter. In Delta, please call 604-946-4411.