Elderly residents fall victim to the “grandparent scam”
Roseville Police report that they have had had two elderly residents fall victim to the “grandparent scam” this month.
On April 7, an 80-year-old woman got a call from a man who said he was her grandson. She answered with her grandson’s name, and he said yes, “that’s me,” and went on to tell her that he’d been in a car crash in the Dominican Republic, and needed her to send cash via a money gram to that location. She did. After she sent the money, she talked to her children and found out her grandson had not been in an accident.
On April 16, an 86-year-old woman got a call from a man claiming to be her grandson. He claimed that he was in the Dominican Republic, had gotten into a car crash and thrown into jail (sound familiar?) He told her to go to a certain grocery store and buy Moneygrams, and send them to a woman in the Dominican Republic. She did so. Afterwards she called her grandson’s family, and found out he was at home here in the local area. Both victims lost substantial amounts of money. Sending money via Moneygram or other wire transfer, or sending prepaid gift/credit cards (or reading the numbers on a prepaid gift card to someone over the phone) is just like giving cash away-it isn’t traceable or recoverable.
This despicable scam that targets kindhearted seniors just won’t go away. If you get a call from anyone claiming to be a family member far away and in trouble, don’t be fooled. Don’t give them your grandchildren’s names or any other personal information. Get a number and tell them you’ll call them back. Then call your grandchild at their regular home phone number, or call their parents or other relatives (the scammer will beg you not to, but do it anyway). You will almost surely find out that your relative is at home, school or work, and is fine.
If you really fear that a relative is in trouble in a foreign country, BEFORE YOU SEND ANY MONEY, contact the U.S. State Department’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) at 1-888-407-4747. They will help you verify whether the situation is legitimate or a scam! You might even want to print this information and tape it next to all your phones, or your loved one’s..