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Quebecers accused of scamming Island seniors arrested at Vancouver airport

Victims of ‘grandparent scam’ out at least $27,000
Two people accused of scamming seniors in Saanich were arrested at the Vancouver International Airprot on March 1, 2024. Pictured is a flight arrives at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Two people from Quebec have been arrested in relation to a scam that targeted seniors in Saanich and potentially other Vancouver Island communities in late February.

The pair, a 26-year-old Montreal man and a 24-year-old woman from Quebec City, were arrested at the Vancouver International Airport on Thursday (Feb. 29).

Saanich police put out a call with one of the suspect’s descriptions in the days before the arrest as officers became aware of the “grandparent scam” that left victims out more than $27,000.

Fraudsters targeted seniors by calling and pretending to be a family member in distress, the police or a justice official claiming that a loved one or grandchild is in trouble, and needs money immediately. The scams started with a phone call, but instead of asking for a bank transfer or other mode, an individual arrived to pick up cash, police said.

“Given the large financial losses from Saanich residents, and the high public interest, Saanich police Major Crime detectives worked diligently to secure evidence, support the victims, and ultimately locate the two suspects as soon as possible,” Saanich police inspector Damian Kowalewich said in Friday (March 1) news release.

Richmond RCMP assisted with the airport arrest and both of the accused face two counts of fraud. The pair had a Friday court appearance in Richmond.

Anyone who may have been targeted is asked to contact Saanich police or their local law enforcement agency.

READ: Scammer turns up at Saanich senior’s doorstep

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