Portage la Prairie RCMP is warning residents after a scam artist took a Portage resident to the cleaners.
On April 28, at about 6:30 p.m., Portage RCMP received a report that an 87-year-old woman had been swindle out of more than $7200.
The Police report says that officers attended the victim’s residence and learned that she had received a phone call from her grandson stating he had been in a collision, where he had struck a pregnant woman, and he was now in police custody.
The man speaking to the victim said she now had to speak to his lawyer.
The woman called the number given to her by the man she believed to be her grandson, and another man, purporting to be the lawyer, answered the phone and directed her to get cash from the bank, and he would send someone to her residence to get the money.
The 87-year-old was told she could not tell anyone about this as the matter was confidential. The victim attended the bank and withdrew the requested cash. When she returned home, a man came to her door and accepted the money. He then left.
The victim became concerned when she had not received a call from either the lawyer or her grandson and attempted to call the number she was given, but nobody answered.
She then called family members and determined her grandson was at work and had no contact with the police.
"This is absolutely devastating for this victim," says Portage la Prairie RCMP Inspector Paul Peddle. "She truly believed she was helping her grandson. The information the suspect gave her about the alleged crime was very specific, and the fact that they had the audacity to pretend to be her grandson shows the lengths these criminals are willing to go to scam people out of their money."
Peddle notes that the RCMP wants to remind citizens that bail is not paid for in cash in Canada.
"If you get any request for assistance from a family member, make sure to call them back on a familiar number or call an independent family member at a known number to confirm the information," says Peddle.
Police continue to investigate. The suspect that showed up to retrieve the money was a male in his mid-20s, had curly black hair, was wearing a black long-sleeve vest-type jacket and dark pants.
If you have information, please call the Portage la Prairie RCMP at 204-857-4445.