The Manitoba government is providing some relief to seniors who fell victim to a sophisticated “grandparent scam” last year. Justice Minister Matt Wiebe announced the return of a portion of the stolen money, praising the efforts of police and the Criminal Property Forfeiture Branch.
In July 2023, two Ontario residents targeted 14 Manitoban seniors, posing as grandchildren in legal trouble and needing bail money. Using obituaries and internet searches, they preyed on the victims’ love and concern, manipulating them into sending cash.
The scam involved instructing victims to write specific file numbers on envelopes containing the money, which scammers then picked up from their homes. Police, however, were able to track down and arrest the perpetrators thanks to surveillance footage capturing them in an illegally rented vehicle.
Authorities recovered eight envelopes totaling $72,200, and the scammers face charges. While not all losses were recouped, this marks a significant victory for justice and a message of hope for victims.
Justice Minister Wiebe: “It’s crucial to remember that anyone can fall prey to these scams. The perpetrators are skilled at manipulating emotions and exploiting vulnerabilities. It’s important to be aware that police and courts will never send someone to your home to collect money.”
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of scams targeting vulnerable individuals. It’s crucial to remain vigilant, check information with trusted sources, and never send money based on urgent phone calls or requests.