Washington County Sheriff’s Office warns of “Grandparent Scam”

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies have seen a significant increase in persons falling victim to “The Grandparent’s Scam.” Within the last 10 days multiple families have fallen victim to this scam, losing on average more than $5,000 dollars each.

The Scam works as follows: An elderly grandparent will receive a phone call from a person posing as the victim’s grandchild. The caller may know personal information about the both the grandparent and the grandchild and give a detailed story about being arrested. The caller posing as the grandchild will pressure the grandparent for money to be wired or transferred using services such as “Green Dot Cards” or “Western Union” to cover legal expenses and bail. 

What to do if you or someone you know receives a call like this:

• Resist the pressure to act quickly. The caller may be posing as the grandchild, an attorney or a judge, and they will put pressure on you to send money immediately. Hang up the phone if you have to.

• Call 911. Your local law enforcement agency can assist you in verifying whether the call is legitimate or a scam.

• Refuse to send money through wire transfer or overnight delivery.

• Obtain the phone number of the party calling if you can.  This may assist law enforcement in their investigation.

Sheriff’s Office seeks help

The Sheriff’s Office requests the public share this information with as many family members and friends as possible, especially with the senior citizens.

These links provide further information on these types of scams.

http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/april/grandparent_040212  (FBI)

https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/Publications/GrandParentScams.asp  (Minnesota Attorney General’s Office)

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