Groveland Police Warn Residents of ‘Grandparent Scam’ After Local Victims Come Forward

Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen (Courtesy photograph.)

The Groveland Police Department is warning seniors about, what it calls, a “grandparent scam” and offering tips to avoid being defrauded.

Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey T. Gillen offered the warning and tips Thursday as the department investigates such a case involving a resident. Under the ruse, Gillen said, a swindler calls the grandparent, posing as a grandchild or other relative, and reports they have been arrested and need money to be released by local police. The scammer urges the senior not to tell anyone else in the family.

The caller requests bail payment in cash or gift card, to be given to a person posing as a courier or bail bondsman who arrives at the victim’s home. Or, he said, the scammer requests money be transferred via a wire service such as Western Union. In a variation of this scam, a second scammer posing as a law enforcement official calls the senior to reinforce the bogus story.

Merrimac Police similarly reported a resident there was conned out of $18,000 last week. That resident received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild in jail. The caller claimed he needed bail money and had the grandmother speak to a second individual who claimed to be her grandchild’s attorney.

Gillen said police and government agencies will never demand payment by wire transfer or prepaid cards. In every case, once the money is transferred or the debit card number is given, the money is usually lost forever and cannot be recovered. Further, he reminded residents any arrest of relatives can be confirmed with the arresting police department or local district court clerk’s office.

Both Groveland and Merrimac Police suggest those receiving such frantic calls resist the urge to act immediately no matter how dramatic the story; verify the relative’s identity by asking questions a stranger could not answer; check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends even if told to keep it a secret; and do not wire money or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.

Comments are closed.