A Sergeant with Steinbach RCMP says their detachment continues to hear from grandparents who have been targeted by scammers.

Sergeant Joanne Ryll says over the course of two days this week, her office responded to four incidents of the Grandparent Scam. 

According to police in Manitoba, the version of this scam which seems to be popular right now involves a criminal making a phone call to an elderly person and pretending to be a relative in need of financial assistance. The criminal will often say they have been arrested and need bail money. The caller then convinces the senior to pay a sum of money to an individual who will be swinging by their residence to collect the cash. The senior is made to believe that the money is necessary for their loved one to be released from prison.

Sergeant Ryll says of the four incidents in recent days, two of them resulted in the victims losing money, while in the other two incidents, there was no money exchanged. Sergeant Ryll says as far as she knows, in each of these cases the request was for cash and not gift cards, which is another popular method for scammers.

Sergeant Ryll says anyone who receives such a call, should hang up.

"You're not being rude and so hang up," she urges. "They may try and call again, keep hanging up."

Sergeant Ryll says the other thing you can do is to call the family member being referred to in the scam. 

"If there is no answer, then just call another relative," she suggests. "Keep calling a family member until you get to know that this is a scam."

And, she says you should never give them the personal information they are asking for. 

Another suggestion is for families to have a safety word that only close relatives will know. This can be useful in instances where the fraudsters recreate the voice of a family member in need. 

According to Sergeant Ryll, the amount of cash being asked for by fraudsters is substantial. She explains that often what is happening is the fraudster will call the victim back, once they have withdrawn the money. Then, when they know they have someone who has fallen for the scam, they might ask for additional money to be withdrawn. 

"Then they will call again and make another excuse as to why they need more money," she says. "In some cases, people have fallen for it and have fallen a second time to get another amount of money, which in these cases they've been substantial enough."

Sergeant Ryll says unfortunately, once the money has been handed to these thieves, it is nearly impossible for authorities to get it back, noting the chances are very remote of catching these culprits.