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Toronto police warn residents about 'grandparents scam' costing people thousands of dollars

Toronto police are warning grandparents in the city to be aware of a scam that has cost victims’ millions of dollars this year.

Some of the city’s residents have been scammed out of a total of $1 million over the course of a year after falling for the “grandparent scam.”

The scam involves a person calling a grandparent pretending to be their grandchild and saying they are in “big trouble” with the police and need money in order to not to spend a night in jail.

“They would sound in distress, crying and saying they are in trouble and they need help and they are asking for money and then the phone would be passed on to someone purporting to be a lawyer or a police officer and a cash demand would be made for their release,” Toronto police Det. Constable Ella Bhardwaj said.

Bhardwaj said the elderly victim is then told to go to the bank and withdraw large sums of cash to secure the release of their grandchild, and that a courier would come by their home to pick up the money, only then would the child be released from police custody.

Of course, police said the grandchild was never in police custody and the money would be gone.

In the most recent case, a grandparent was told to get $25, 000 from the bank and wait for the courier to pick up the money. The victim, only trying to help the family member, fell for the scam.

Bhardwaj says this is in no way how police operate.

“At no time will a police officer request you to go to your bank and take out a large amount of money to bring that back home so a courier can attend your house to pick it up. Police will not do that,” Bhardwaj said.

Over a year, 80 grandparents have fallen victim to this phone scam, taking a total of nearly $1 million.

“They are at a loss, they feel foolish, their emotions have been played,” Bhardwaj said.

Nikolaos Antonopoulos, 24-years-old of Laval Quebec, was arrested at the Toronto home of the latest victim after allegedly demanding another $21,000 for the safe release of their grandchild from police custody.

This time, however, the victim called police. He is charged with five counts of fraud over $5,000.

Toronto police say they would like any other victims to come forward. Top Stories

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