Officer Josh Gluck speaks to a group about fraud prevention.

Fraud is on the rise, including in North Grenville, and it is important to be prepared to avoid it. OPP Officer Josh Gluck has seen scams perpetuated from every angle. People are victimized by phone, by social media, email, and even by regular mail. Some frauds lately have even been done through simple text message. “We’re absolutely inundated with them,” said Officer Gluck. 

Beginning in October of last year, the Grenville County OPP detachment assigned a few officers with specialization in online fraud to give focus to the problem. Officer Gluck explained that this job requires some specialized knowledge on the part of the officers involved, since they must be very familiar with technology, and also must be well versed in working with international agencies. These officers take reports of scams and fraud coming in, and decide what they can effectively follow up on. 

Sometimes, it is not feasible for charges to be laid in fraud cases. Since the investigation tactic of “follow the money” is often used, the country where the stolen money ends up often makes a big difference in whether the trail can be followed. However, the OPP officers assigned to the Grenville County fraud project don’t simply give up on someone when there are no viable avenues of investigation or prosecution. Instead, they focus on treating the victims of fraud as they are – victims of crime who often just need to be heard and understood. Officer Gluck explained that there is an unfortunate stigma that often incorrectly labels victims of scams as gullible and too trusting for falling for the ruse. However, fraud affects people from all demographics and all levels of tech-savviness. “A big thrust of the team is to do a better job of treating the victims more like actual victims,” Officer Gluck added. 

There are numerous supports available for victims which the OPP can refer out to in fraud cases. Officer Gluck pointed out that even in cases where prosecution and the recovery of lost money are impossible, most of the victims are satisfied with the police response so long as they have the chance to report the crime and tell their story without being judged. However, there are crimes where the money is traceable, and even some frauds that happen face-to-face, and the OPP is active in pursuing charges in those cases. 

When asked if he has any general fraud prevention tips, Officer Gluck answered that with so many different frauds being perpetuated and changing all the time, there is no specific advice that can be applied to prevent all frauds. However, two pieces of simple advice can be useful to avoid being scammed in general: slow down, and talk to someone you trust. 

When it comes to “slowing down”, this simply means giving yourself enough time to assess whether something feels off about what is happening. Officer Gluck explained that there are almost always red flags, and that people who report being victimized by fraud have usually noticed the red flags, but ignored them. Having someone else to run the situation by – a family member or friend, for example – can help give an extra set of eyes to spot when something isn’t right. 

Another piece of general advice offered by OPP Officer Annie Collins is to share less on social media. She explained that many people either don’t know how to set up private online accounts or don’t bother doing so. The result is that it can be easy for a scammer to go online and learn important personal information about you. 

Officer Gluck acknowledges that there can be shame and embarrassment when it comes to reporting frauds. Anyone who is not comfortable talking through these things with family and friends is welcome to speak to a police officer instead. Residents of North Grenville are welcome to contact the Kemptville detachment of the Grenville County OPP if they have questions about a potential fraud or scam. Frauds and scams can also be reported via the non-emergency OPP number at 1-888-310-1122. 


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