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An alert nephew and the co-ordinated efforts of police departments in Vancouver and England have saved an elderly woman from falling victim to an expensive scam.

Vancouver police Const. Tania Visintin says the nephew of a 96-year-old woman called police April 7 to report someone had convinced his aunt to send $20,000 in small bills to an address in England.

The fraudsters had contacted the woman by phone and convinced her to hide the money in the pages of two books.

Visintin says the books were already in the mail when the nephew called, but Vancouver’s financial crime unit worked with law enforcement agencies in England to intercept the packages before delivery.

Investigators are now in the process of forwarding the money to the Canadian Embassy and Visintin says the funds will be returned to the victim.

She says anyone who is suspicious about personal money transfers or withdrawals should call police or speak to a trusted family member before handing over any cash.

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