Commonly called the “Grandparent Scam,” this case is similar to many that have been reported in other parts of New York and across the country in recent years. In most of the reported cases, the suspect calls a senior citizen and claims to be one of their grandchildren who have been involved in a car crash or some other legal trouble and were arrested. The person on the phone provides the victim with a phone number for an attorney and asks the victim to contact them.
The person posing as a lawyer convinces the victims that their respective grandchildren need a large sum of money – all in cash – to be bailed out of jail. Once the victim went to the bank to withdraw the funds, the suspect or a co-conspirator physically went to the victims’ homes to pick up the money. The Rye PD warns you that law enforcement and/or judicial personnel will never come to your house in order to collect bail money.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are several steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of this scam:
- Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
- Verify the caller’s identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer. Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine. Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
- Don’t send cash, gift cards, or money transfers – once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone.
- Contact the City of Rye Police – we can assist you in verifying the authenticity of the caller (914) 967-1234.