Okotoks RCMP are cautioning people of the prevalent 'grandparent scam.'
The scam targets seniors, with the caller posing as one of their grandchildren, a police officer, or a lawyer.
The caller will claim that the victim's grandchild has gotten in trouble with the law and needs bail money.
Cpl. Chris Hrynyk with Okotoks RCMP says the scam is nothing new, but it seems to have ramped up as of late.
"Locally, we're between five and ten now. In the province, we're over 30 since the beginning of this year. It is a scam that's cycling around Canada as a whole right now as well, it's occurring in all the other provinces too."
He says callers will use a variety of tactics, including who they're posing as during the call, and how the payment is to be delivered.
Sometimes scammers will request an e-transfer or for the money to be sent via a Bitcoin ATM, and he's also heard reports of the scammer arranging for a 'plain clothes officer' to pick up the money in person.
This is one of the best ways to identify this kind of scam, says Cpl. Hrynyk.
"The police will never ask you to go and get money and then come to your house to pick it up, we will not do that. If someone is in trouble and they're in jail, they'll actually hear from that person, they're not going to hear from a police officer. That person will tell them 'this is what's going on, and I need this bail money,' and you go to the detachment to pay it, or you go to a courthouse to pay it, you don't pay it any way other than that."
Often, the caller will say they were too embarrassed to call a parent, or that a "gag order" is in place, which is a tactic to prevent victims from getting advice from other family members.
According to Cpl. Hrynyk, this is another telltale sign.
"Police don't use the term 'gag order,' it's not something we have the ability to do or enforce. A gag order is more typically issued by a court and a judge who says there's a non-disclosure order, which is more what a gag order would be considered."
As with many scam calls, the grandparent call relies on pressure and urgency, with the caller trying to keep the victim on their backfoot.
"The police will never ask you to go and get money and then come to your house to pick it up, we will not do that."
Cpl. Hrynyk advises potential victims to avoid this by taking a step back, assessing the situation, and taking some steps to verify the person's identity.
"Ask more questions. Ask who this person is, what the officer's name is, where they work, their phone number, and step back from the situation. Ask questions about who the family member is, their birthday, where they live, things like that, so that it provides the potential victim with kind of a check and balance to verify the information that's being provided to them because a suspect making these calls won't have that type of personal information."
If you've received one of these calls, he recommends calling the police station for advice or to verify the caller's claims.