Officers say at least 10 elderly people have fallen victim to the scam, which they believe started in December.
Police say suspects will call an elderly grandparent and claim to be his or her grandchild in need of having money wired to them because of being in jail or for another critical emergency.
Police believe the suspects are going through obituaries, getting the names of the grandchildren of elderly people who have recently lost loved ones.
“In our mind, this is a pretty heinous thing to do to people who are in that situation,” says Det. Sgt. Sandra Martin of Winnipeg police.
In two recent cases, victims used a money transfer service to send $3,000 and $7,000 to suspects, say police.
CTV News spoke with an 83-year-old woman who said she was a victim of the scam by a caller.
“He started off by saying ‘hello grandma, how are you?’ It sounded so much like my grandson that I really got sucked in,” says the woman, who asked her name not be used.
A man claiming to be her grandson said he was in a car accident in Quebec and needed $3,300 to get home. She says the suspect called her again later once she’d wired him the money and said he was going to send her flowers. The woman later found out she had been scammed.