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Scammers pretending to be a grandchild who is in trouble

Roseville, Calif.- The “grandparent” scam has surfaced in Roseville, where a scam artist telephones a senior citizen pretending to be a grandchild who is in trouble and urgently needs money.

The caller will often start the conversation by saying, “Hi Grandpa. Guess who this is?” or “Hi Grandma, it’s your favorite grandchild!”  When the senior responds with the name of a grandchild, the caller will pretend to be that person and ask for money.  The stories vary–callers may say they have been arrested and need bail money, or have been in an traffic accident and need money for car repair, or are stranded somewhere and need money to get home. Often the caller will plead with “Grandma” not to tell their parents about the situation.

If the victim falls for the story, the caller will ask for money to be wired to them, or to a friend or “their attorney”. In many cases the money is wired out of the country.

The Roseville Police Department has the following suggestions to help avoid this scam:

  • If you receive a call from someone who says, “Guess who this is?”, say, “I don’t know. Who is it?” Do not volunteer any information.
  • If they claim to be a relative, ask further questions like their birth date, their mother’s name and date of birth, their mother or father’s phone number, or what street they grew up on.
  • If they say they are in jail or a police station, ask which one, and what the phone number is so you can call back. Then use directory assistance or the Internet to find a publicly listed number, and call back.
  • Even if they plead for you not to tell anyone, call their parents or other relatives to talk about the situation and confirm the caller’s whereabouts.
  • Always use extreme caution when anyone asks you to wire money via Western Union or another wire service. Once the money has been picked up, you cannot get it back.

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