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Man arrested after fraud scam resulting in loss of thousands of dollars

The RNC has made an arrest following an investigation related to fraud.

On February 28 officers responded to a report of fraud at a residence in St. John’s. Officers determined that an individual had made a phone call to the resident, stating they were a grandchild in need, followed by a supposed public official stating that a payment was required to release the individual from an arrest.

This type of fraud is known as a ‘grandparent’ scam. Police received over a dozen more reports of a similar nature, in some cases resulting in losses of thousands of dollars.

On March 2, police located and arrested 23-year-old Charles Gillen, believed to reside in Ontario, in connection with the fraud scheme. He was arrested at the St. John’s International Airport and has been held in custody to appear in court on charges of fraud over $5000.00, extortion and conspiracy to commit an offence.

The RNC and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre have some tips to prevent fraud :

  • If you receive a call from anyone claiming to be law enforcement, looking to obtain personal information, end the conversation and contact you’re the police agency directly

  • Anyone seeking large transactions of cash within a short time period is to be deemed suspicious.

  • Use caution posting online. Fraudsters can gather information from your social media accounts that will make their claims of sound legitimate.

  • Don’t trust a number just because it is local or familiar. Fraudsters may use technology that will disguise their actual contact.

  • If you receive a suspicious call claiming to be a family member who has been arrested, in hospital, or in an emergency requiring immediate money transfers, hang up the phone and contact the person and/or agencies mentioned directly.

  • If you receive any type of unsolicited mail, phone call, email or text messages that asks for any type of personal information, do not respond and delete or discard it immediately.

  • If you are conducting any type of business online or over the phone to make sure you know who you are dealing with.

Anyone with information regarding these types of scams or any similar incidents is asked to contact the RNC at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Individuals experiencing stress or mental health crisis as a result of this information, please contact the mental health crisis line at 8-1-1.


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