Sheriff Warns of Scam Targeting Grandparents

scam featurePress release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received information about another phone scam targeting local residents. This scam targets older Humboldt County residents, with the scammer pretending to be the victim’s grandchild.

According to one local resident who received a call from these scammers, the caller claimed to be the resident’s grandson and said he was traveling oversees, had gotten into a car accident and couldn’t get back home until his rental car damages were covered. The scammer asked the resident to wire nearly $5,000 through Western Union to cover the costs. But when the resident asked the caller to spell his grandson’s middle name, the scammer hung up.

Grandparent scam situations vary in context but they all contain the same components: the caller says there’s been some type of emergency (accident, arrest, assault, etc.) and asks you to send money immediately. The scammer might pose as a grandchild or may identify themselves as a lawyer or law enforcement official on behalf of a relative.

In some cases, the scammer might not have the name of the victim’s relative and waits for the victim to ask if the scammer is their grandchild, i.e. “John, is that you?” Some scammers may have a lot of personal information, know the names of your relatives and may sound convincing.

If you get a call or an email from someone claiming to know you and asking for help, the best way to determine if it is a scam is to pause, tell the scammer you will need to contact another family member first and hang up. Then, contact the person who they claim to be directly. If you can’t reach that person, contact someone else- a friend or relative of the person. Don’t send money unless you’re sure it’s a real person you know.

If you receive a call or email from one of these scammers, report it to your local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.

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8 comments

  • unbridled philistine

    I get a call from the fake IRS every other day! Getting old.. Some guy from India claiming his name is Patrick! I died said you sound more like Habiib! Really getting old tho. Something to be said about preying on the weakest part of the community.

  • An automated call left a voicemail the other day on my phone saying they were a Sergeant with some police department but it wasn’t a real person talking, it was a computer reading info into the phone. Saved the msg thinking that maybe I should report it.

    As if HCSO doesn’t have enough on their plate.

  • Best thing that was EVER invented for telephones is Caller ID!!! It has helped dodge SO many of these, fake WTF ever the gimmick is, calls it is a blessing!!!

  • If someone calls me trying to scam me i will send the money but thars only going to one place to pick it up right wher i will be when the money arrives then i will find out who this piece of s–t is

    • Best of luck on finding something like that but personally I don’t know of any places you can send money to someone else that have only 1 pickup point!!! Besides that I can’t afford to lose ANY money period so I’m not taking the chance!!! But feel free to freak freely with your money!!!

  • Proud Deplorable Grandma

    My mom fell for that one back in 2014, great-grandson in Peru……She sent $1500. Thank goodness it wasn’t $15,000. She actually drove to Ray’s and sent the money through Western Union. She came over and confessed about 10 days later. I asked for her checkbook and credit cards. She handed them over.

    I said Mom why didn’t you just call your son and ask if great grandson was in Peru before you sent the money? Mexico maybe, but Peru?

    I always get the one who call about our computer operating system. They wanted me to go get Target cards. I had fun with that one for a while. Told him I was driving there. Asked for his phone number to call him back and he wouldn’t give it to me, so I told him he would have to stay on the line while I drove there.

  • It happened to my niece someone called her grandparents in Wisconsin and told them that she was in a car accident DUI, and that she’s in jail ,and they need to get money to get her out of jail .

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