Alert bank teller saves Saanich couple from ‘grandparent scam’

An elderly German couple living in Saanich was woken up early Saturday morning by a panicked female caller, in need of $40,000.

An elderly German couple living in Saanich was woken up early Saturday morning by a panicked female caller, in need of $40,000. She spoke to them in German, and claimed to be their niece, living in Deutschland.

“Olga, is that you?”

“Yes, it’s me, Olga.”

She said she needed the large sum of money to help pay the bills for her newly acquired furniture store. She also told the couple not to tell other family members about her situation, out of concern that she would be shunned and shamed.

The victims, convinced their niece was really in trouble, went to the Coast Capital Savings credit union on Shelbourne Street to withdraw money.

But the unusually large request caught the attention of the bank teller. When she questioned the elderly man about what the money was to be used for, he explained the situation, which she immediately recognized as a fraud.

Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen said fraudsters perpetrate the “grandparent scam” by tricking their elderly victim into suggesting the name of the family member then taking on that identity.

Often a second scammer will get on the phone, claiming to be a lawyer or authority figure, to create a greater air of legitimacy and urgency.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read