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Ontario senior tricked to believe loved one was in car crash loses thousands to fraudster: police

Police have issued a public warning after an elderly woman in Ontario lost several thousand dollars to someone posing as a lawyer who tricked her into believing her loved one had been involved in a collision.

The victim, a 75-year-old woman, received a phone call from a man claiming to be a lawyer, according to a release issued Monday by the South Simcoe Police Service (SSPS).

The suspect told the woman that her friend had been involved in a collision and needed "several thousand" dollars for bail, police.

The victim obtained the cash and, within an hour, a man arrived at her residence to collect it “before the courthouse closed,” they said.

Afterward, police said the victim became suspicious and looked up the name the suspect had identified himself as. The name belonged to a real lawyer, who confirmed he was not involved in the representation of her friend. The real lawyer urged her to call the police, police said.

The suspect has not been identified, SSPS told CTV News Toronto Monday. The amount of money lost was not specified by police.

Police categorized the incident as an ‘emergency,’ or ‘grandparent,’ scam, in which suspects pose as officials and inform victims that their loved ones are in some sort of trouble. Often the suspects request a sum of money to resolve the situation.

READ MORE: How Canada's Big Six banks are responding to the 'grandparent scam'

To protect yourself from such scams, SSPS advises residents who suspect they are being scammed to hang up the phone and call their family member back directly, using a known phone number – not one provided by a fraudster.

If someone calls you and pretends to be law enforcement, the service says to hang up and call local police directly.

“Be suspicious of telephone calls that require you to immediately act and request money for a family member in distress,” the statement reads. "

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