Back in November 2010, we ran a post entitled "Grandparent Scam - Don't Fall Prey." Arcadia Police had responded on several incidents involving telephone scams and the elderly, one of which resulted in financial loss to a victim. It was, and remains our desire to make the public aware of this type of scam and encourage everyone to share this info with family and friends. We hope that by making potential victims aware of this type of scam, they will be more likely to question unknown callers and not be victimized.
During the last week of January 2011, an Arcadia couple in their 80's received a series of phone calls from two different suspects claiming to be their "grandson" and a police sergeant. The "grandson" told the victims that he was on a trip to Mexico with a friend who had been arrested for drug possession. The "grandson" said that he needed bail money and not to tell his parents about the incident. A few hours later, the victims received a second call, this time from a male who said that he was a police sergeant and gave the victims instructions and amounts of money to send for bail and fines. The suspect told the victims to wire the money via Western Union and gave 3 different amounts, wired to two different people.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of bail and release procedures here in California, let alone in another country. This, among other factors, is one of the reasons suspects will target older folks, hoping that they can gain an emotional and quick response to the "need" to help out the young relative. In our case, the victims went to their bank and withdrew funds, transferring the money the next day. By the time the money was transferred and the victims realized their loss, the money had been picked-up by the suspects and was gone.
Investigation of this type of case is difficult on many fronts and the crooks know this. That is why it is so important to spread awareness and to educate those that we know in hopes of preventing the crime from happening to others. If you have a loved one, a friend, or perhaps a neighbor that is older, share this information with them and help keep them from becoming a victim. Thanks to Brian Day at the Pasadena Star News who recently ran an article on the topic to help raise awareness.