The most recent phone call fraud scam hitting older residents in the Mendota Heights area preys on the love of grandparents for their grandchildren.
The scam has been around for several years now, but Investigator Tanner Spicer said several residents have been targeted by the calls recently.
Residents should be on the alert for phone calls from someone claiming to be a police officer or an official in another country.
The “official” tells the victim that the victim’s grandchild has gotten in trouble while overseas.
The “official” then hands the phone to another person who poses as the victim’s grandchild. The callers will know the grandchild’s name and some family history.
“Residents who have fallen victim already have expressed how convincing the suspects have been and were amazed how the suspect’s voice and wordage even matched that of their real grandchild,” said Spicer.
The “grandchild” then asks the grandparent to not tell their parents and to wire money to get them out of jail. If questioned, the “grandchild” has been able to answer personal questions.
The fraudsters then provide details of how to wire the money, and provide callback numbers and contact information for the victim to “verify.”
If the victim does call back, the “official” claims the situation has escalated, and the amount that needs to be wired to get the grandchild out of jail increases.
See the Minnesota Attorney General's scam alert in the attached pdf.
What to do if you receive a call like this:
- Hang up and call the grandchild’s parents and verify if the child is out of the country.
- Try calling the grandchild on their regular personal phone number.
- Do NOT wire anyone any money, no matter how official sounding the caller is. Any money wired cannot be recovered.
- Report the call to the Mendota Heights Police Department.