Woman who lost $9000 in scam gets money back

Posted On Thursday May 13, 2021

Police officers in Ottawa and Montreal recovered $9000 for a woman after she fell for a convincing scam involving the arrest of her son.

The Ottawa resident was called by someone claiming to be her son on March 26. He was crying and difficult to hear, but he was cut off, and a man posing as an RCMP officer came on the line. He told her that her son had been arrested and to send money by a parcel delivery service for his release. He gave her an address in Montreal. The woman was surprised to hear her son was arrested, but she followed the instructions and shipped the money to what she thought was the address of a police officer.

When her husband got home, he was suspicious of the call, so he contacted Ottawa Police Service (OPS). Cst. Denise Couperus took the information from the couple. Fortunately, the woman had a tracking number, so Detective Melissa Plunkett got ahold of the parcel delivery service, who said the package would be re-routed to the sender. When it was still delivered to the original destination, Detective Laurie-Anne Rocca reached out to Montreal Police for help. They went to the address and the parcel was on the door step. They seized the package with the money.

“These scammers do this all the time and they are very convincing,” says Detective Rocca. “It may sound impossible, but when it happens to you, it seems absolutely real.”

Detective Rocca says there are steps you can take to avoid being scammed:

  • A police service will not ask for money to be delivered by parcel delivery.
  • Verify police are in fact calling you. Don’t use the number given by the caller, use 411 or the Internet to get the phone number and do your own check.
  • If the person is claiming to be your family member, ask them to answer questions that only he or she would know, to satisfy you that you are in fact speaking to them.
  • Don’t be pressured. Take some time to process what you have been told, to see if it makes sense. Try calling the person claiming to be in trouble to see if they answer the phone, ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion.
  •  If you are in doubt, call your local police service.
  • Make sure you, and elderly family members or friends, are aware of current scams and how they work. You can get information from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

“It was a team effort that led to the successful outcome of this case,” said Detective Rocca. “Not only with Ottawa Police officers, but the Montreal Police as well.  Criminals may operate in different jurisdictions, but we talk to each other.”

The incident is under investigation.

If you have been the victim of a scam where you have lost money or your personal information has been stolen, you can make a fraud report online.