Alleged scammer caught in the act of attempting to defraud Burlington resident


Published June 7, 2023 at 10:13 am

A Toronto woman is facing fraud charges after an attempt was made to collect nearly $10,000 from a Burlington resident in an alleged ‘grandparent scam’.

The grandparent or emergency scam is a type of fraud that has been an ongoing trend across Halton resulting in many community members being victimized.

Emergency or grandparent scams typically involve the victim receiving an unsolicited phone call regarding a loved one being in distress.

The perpetrators falsely identify themselves as a loved one, or impersonate a police officer and/or other participants of the criminal justice system (such a lawyers, bailiffs, and “bondsman”), falsely claiming that the loved one is in police custody as a result of a specific incident.

They request a larger sum of money to have the supposed loved one released from custody, or to pay for associated bills/fines accrued as a result of the incident.

The funds requested can be in the form of a direct cash payment, bank transfers, various gift cards, and digital currency. While the scam is ongoing, and the payments are being made, the perpetrators will on occasion use the threat of a fictitious “gag order” to prevent the victim from discussing the matter with anyone else.

On May 25, Halton officers were made aware of a scam in progress. Police say the suspect went to a home to collect $9,500 cash from a victim for the alleged and fabricated bail of his grandchild.

This is a theme often used by fraudsters throughout the GTA. In this occurrence, the caller identified as an RCMP officer and advised the intended victim to withdraw money from his bank and not to tell his wife or bank the reason for the withdrawal.

Jada Witter-Watts, 22, of Etobicoke has been charged with fraud over $5,000.

Investigators are asking anyone who has information or may have also been victimized to contact the Regional Fraud Unit – Intake Office at 905-825-4777, ext. 8741.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or at the website.

Here are some tips police have provided for people to protect themselves:

  • Attempt to verify the caller’s identity, do not volunteer any information, and ask very specific probing questions about the caller.
  • Request to call back the initial caller then independently find the number of the police service (or other purported agency in question) and call them directly to clarify the situation. If unsure, call your local police service and ask them for assistance.
  • Attempt to directly call the loved one in question and clarify the matter with them.
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