Artificial Intelligence of “AI” phone scams have been on a rapid increase in 2022, and now in 2023. These scams are extremely sophisticated and believable. The scammer will collect data and information on individuals, and then use these resources to exploit the individuals loved ones financially through this popular and ever-growing scam. The increase in technological use has created opportunities for scammers to use apps and software as a means to scam individuals. This release will address the facts of the scam, what to do if you believe you may be getting scammed, who to report it to, and resources to further educate yourself.

What if someone is trying to scam me? What do I do?

  • Someone calls and you think it could be your grandchild that is in trouble. The first thing to do in this situation is to stay calm. First begin by calling your grandchild’s cellphone.
  • It is possible that the scammers phone number comes up as “Unknown”,  “Private Caller”, or by your grandchild’s actual phone number.
  • In a simple sense, scammers can “borrow” and hack your grandchild’s phone number. They can intervene calls for their deceitful purposes.
  • By you, as the grandparent calling your grandchild back, you can verify the story with the individual in question.
  • If you are unable to reach your grandchild, contact their parents or other family members close to them. Try and verify if the story is true of part of a scam.
  • If you cannot verify the facts with your grandchild or a family member you trust, do not send money. Do not let scammers pressure you with a ” tight time line”. Verify the facts of the story. If you have any doubts, do not engage, do not send money, and contact the police to report this incident.

What if I fall victim to a scam? 

  • Make sure you call the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-748-5522.
  • Contact your bank immediately. They may be able to reverse the transaction if paid online.
  • It is recommended to report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center. Call them at 1-888-495-8501.

How prominent is this scam? 

  • According to CTV News, scams involving grandparents are on the rapid increase. Of that reported, more than $2.7 million was made to scammers in 2022.
  • As of February 2023, Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, and Canadian Anti-Fraud Center stated that $9.2 million had been been given to scammers by Canadian Seniors involved in “Grandparent Scams”.
  • In a recent news release, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary stated that roughly 8 senior individual were the victims of “Grandparent Scams” within a three day span. Between the victims, roughly $200,000 was lost to scammers.

Common Scenarios/ Themes: 

1) Needing Bail Money: You will hear your grandchild’s voice saying that they have been arrested and need you to post their bail. The voice may also be a ‘lawyer’, speaking on your grandchild’s behalf requiring a retainer fee or asking that you pay their fees.

2) Car Accident: When you pick up the phone your grandchild’s voice will be on the other end. They will tell you that they have been in a bad car accident. They will plead with you that they desperately need your help. They have been injured in the accident and need you to pay the associated fees for them. This could be fees for hospital bills, tow truck or impound fees, or the cost of transporting them to the hospital.

3) Travel Issues: This scam is presumably the least common of the ones discussed. In this scam the grandchild will call stating they are having issues in a foreign country and need your assistance: This can range from having trouble with local authorities, have run out of money/currency is not working or accepted, and that they are having trouble having a visa being approved and are stuck.

How can this technology sound like my grandchild’s voice? 

  • “AI” software requires very few sentences of your grandchild’s voice to manipulate and mimic it for their fraudulent plans.
  • For example, imagine if your grandchild posts videos on TikTok or Youtube, posts Instagram reels or live Facebooks updates.
  • Scammers can take the recordings posted on your grandchild’s social media, clip together words and sentences to say whatever they need.
  • With the rise of technology use, the process of voice manipulation and threading together of words is extremely cheap and easy for scammers