Crime alert: Grandparent scam
Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2012
In the past two weeks there have been four reports to police of Minnetonka residents losing money to a telephone scam. This scam is referred to as “The Grandparent Scam” that typically targets elderly people.
In the past two weeks there have been four reports to police of Minnetonka residents losing money to a telephone scam. This scam is referred to as “The Grandparent Scam” that typically targets elderly people. The scam involves a phone call where the caller is claiming to be the grandchild and in urgent need of money due to an accident, an arrest or other problem. The caller will ask the grandparent to wire money to a foreign country and many grandparents that are eager to help put aside their reservations and fall victim to this scam. In most of the cases, the victims have used wire transfers to send thousands of dollars to the caller believing they were helping their grandchild when in fact they are sending their money to a con artist.
Tips to avoid this scam
Verify the caller’s identity
Contact a family member who could confirm the caller’s story. Try contacting the real grandchild at a number you know is accurate.
Resist pressure to act quickly
This scam depends upon a relative’s compassion for someone outweighing any concern about potential scams. The various excuses created by fraudsters almost always involve an emergency and a desire for secrecy. Fraudsters ask for secrecy because they know if you contact another family member, you will become aware of the scam.
You should only wire transfer money if you are certain of the caller’s identity
Particularly if the caller wants you to wire the money to a foreign country. Remember, if you wire money, it may be impossible to retrieve the money once it is received at the other end. Therefore, the money is virtually untraceable, and law enforcement agencies have little success in recovering wired funds.
If you receive a fraudulent phone call like this, you should promptly call the police.
If you have information
These cases are currently under investigation by the Minnetonka Police Department. If you have information about these crimes, please contact Detective Terri Swanson at 952.939.8561 or email@example.com.
Mark D. Raquet
Chief of Police
February 9, 2012