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Police warn of phone-based grandparent, STARS lottery scams

Police are warning the public of two ongoing phone-based scams and advise anyone receiving a suspicious call to practice due diligence
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If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, you can reach out to the Moose Jaw Police Service or Crime Stoppers.

Following a number of reports received on Feb. 26, the Moose Jaw Police Service (MJPS) is advising the public to be aware of two phone-based scam operations that are now circulating through the community.

One of these scams is the "grandparent scam," where a caller pretends to be a grandchild of the victim and says they are in need of money.

After reaching the victim, the scammer immediately communicates their need for money and states that a lawyer will contact the victim with details. This initial call is also used by the scammer to obtain some useful information for the second portion of the call.

With sufficient information obtained, the scammer then impersonates a lawyer.

The victim of the call is instructed by this individual -- who claims to be their grandchild's lawyer -- to withdraw a large sum of money to assist them and then await further instructions. 

It is important to note that the MJPS, lawyers, judges, and jails do not make personal calls requesting money. 

If the caller is requesting payment by way of gift cards or Bitcoin, the call is most likely a scam as these forms of payment are hard to trace or cannot be traced.

If you become suspicious of the call, it is advisable to reach out to your grandchild or other members of the family to verify the claims or requests made during the call. This should be done before giving out any personal information.

The MJPS is reminding the public not to provide any personal information over the phone.

The second scam operation is the "STARS Lottery scam," where a caller claims to represent STARS Air Ambulance and tells people they've won a number of prizes that include new vehicles or cash prizes ranging from $30,000 to $350,000.

The scammer will then attempt to manipulate the victim by falsely claiming they won an extravagant prize and requests payment in order to claim the prize.

The MJPS is reminding the public that they will never be asked to send money in order to claim any lottery prizes. 

If you are asked to send a cheque, money order, or any other type of payment to claim a lottery prize, the call is a scam. If this happens, the MJPS advises you to hang up the phone or delete the email immediately.

In the event of a legitimate ongoing lottery contest held by STARS Air Ambulance, it is best to contact STARS directly to verify that you are a winner. The organization will never ask for money in order to claim a prize.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam such as these, please contact the Moose Jaw Police Service at 306-694-7600. To submit an anonymous tip, Moose Jaw Crime Stoppers can be reached toll-free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at

For more information on scams and attempted fraud, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at

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