CORNWALL, Ontario – As a result of an ongoing investigation by members of the Cornwall Police Service (CPS) Criminal Investigation Division, Street Crime Unit, and Community Patrol Division, Peter Pitsolantis, 43, of Sainte-Marthe-Sur-le-Lac, Quebec was arrested on Oct. 18 and charged with three counts of fraud over $5,000.
It is alleged on three occasions throughout the month of October, the man contacted a 94-year-old victim and fraudulently claimed that the victim’s grandchild was in need of money for various reasons. On two occasions, Pitsolantis received large sums of money exceeding $5,000. On the third occasion, police were able to locate the man and intervene prior to the victim providing him with an additional quantity of cash. During the investigation, the man was taken into custody, charged accordingly and released to appear in court on Nov. 28, 2019.
The CPS would like to advise the public of ongoing scams, such as the Grandparent Scam, and encourage families to speak with their loved ones about the risks of sending money to someone they do not know.
Here are some ways you can help protect yourself when faced with an unknown caller:
· Never offer information to the caller – If they prompt you with a question such as, “Do you know who this is?” simply say no and have them tell you.
· Ask the caller for as many details as possible. If the person on the other end of the phone is explaining his/her story, ask them questions about their specific location or have them repeat their story. A criminal will have a hard time recalling details or coming up with them on the spot.
· Ask the caller a few personal questions that a real grandchild could answer but an imposter could not.
· After you hang up, verify the story by calling the parents or other relatives of the “grandchild”. Scammers will often tell you not to contact the parents as the “grandchild” is embarrassed or does not want to get in trouble. Don’t let this fool you – always verify the information with someone you trust.
· Never wire money to someone under uncertain conditions. It is difficult to recover or trace money that has been wired.
· Refrain from using forms of currency that you are unfamiliar with or have never used, such as crypto-currency (i.e. Bitcoin).
· Never provide any banking information over the telephone or Internet unless you are sure about who you’re giving it to.
If you have been a victim of this scam or others and believe you have sent money or personal information to someone you do not know, please report it to the CPS by calling 613-932-2110 ext. 3.