Petrolia grandmother shares scam scare to save others

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A Petrolia grandmother is praising the staff at RBC after coming very close to falling victim to a phone scam.

The long time resident of the community, who asked not to be identified, says early in July, she and her husband came very close to losing $10,500.

It all started when she picked up the phone and someone claiming to be an RCMP officer said he was calling for her grandson who was in jail. The “officer” put the woman’s grandson on the phone.

“The grandson came on the line and I said, ‘Adam?’ He said, ‘Grandma?’ So I gave them his name. And I said, ‘You don’t sound good.’”

The grandmother says there was “a little doubt” in her mind about whether this was her grandson, but brushed it off after he said he had a cold. The grandson claimed to be in jail because his friend was found with drugs in the car.
The scammers said the couple needed to send $10,500 in cash for the grandson’s bail and they told them “the judges put a gag order on this and you cannot talk to anyone about.’”

The “officer” told her how to avoid detection from the bank tellers, saying she was doing renovations if asked questions about the cash.

The Petrolia woman and her husband were panicked but there was a voice in the back of her head questioning what was going on.

“I thought this is weird. But hey, he’s got my grandson in jail, I’m gonna do whatever I can.”

At one point she called the number back, checking to see if her suspicions were justified, but the scammers answered the phone saying RCMP.

“I thought, no, I better go and do what I was told to do. Because I’m so scared. Like, I’m shaking inside now just thinking about it,” she said as she talked to The Independent.

When she arrived at the RBC and asked for the money, the teller asked what she was planning to do with all that money, the grandmother did as she was instructed and said renovations. But she didn’t anticipate the next question.

“She said; ‘Oh, and where are you going to start?’
“I said, ‘the bathroom.’ I don’t know where that came from but I said the bathroom. And she said, ‘You know what, you look a little upset… if someone’s threatening you or anything….” She brushed the teller’s concerns off saying

“Just give me the money. They told me not to tell.”

The teller led her to another office where another staff member helped her call her actual grandson. As she told The Independent about him answering the phone, she cried. “She said; ‘We’re going to do this until he answers. I just know he’s going to answer. And the third time, he answered,” she said through tears.

“It’s a terrible, terrible thing that people innocent people, you know, have to put up with this kind of stuff like me.”

The grandmother praised the bank staff, she even made them one of her trademark coffee cakes. She’s telling everyone she knows her story hoping to save them from falling victim.

If you have been the target of a scam contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.