Officials from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office report that the Internet Crime Complaint Center continues to receive telephone scam complaints involving calls claiming that the recipient’s “relative” is in financial or legal crisis.
This activity has been referred to as the “grandparent scam,” and scammers often pose themselves as a relative and create a sense of urgency and make a desperate plea for money from the victim. They often use scenarios relating to being involved in a car accident or being arrested in another country.
It also is not unusual for scammers to instruct victims not to tell other family members about the supposed situation.
Sometimes the scammers also impersonate third parties, such as an attorney, law enforcement officers or some other type of official, such as a U.S. Embassy representative. Some callers claim they are calling from countries such as Canada, Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala and Peru.
Once potential victims appear to believe the caller’s story, they are provided instructions to wire money to an individual, often referred to as a bail bondsman, for their relative to be released.
Callers often disguise themselves by using phone numbers generated by free applications or by spoofing their numbers.
Deputies advise anyone who receives this type of call to:
• Resist the pressure to act quickly.
• Verify the information before sending any money by attempting to contact your relative to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
• Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially to an overseas location. Wiring money is like giving cash — once you send it, you cannot get it back.
Individuals who have fallen victim to this type of scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.ic3.gov.