A Bucks County resident recently fell victim to a scam in which someone pretends to be or to represent a grandchild in trouble, Pennsylvania State Police said over the weekend.
According to a news release from the Dublin PSP barracks, the scam was perpetrated on a Milford Township resident, who received a phone call Thursday in which she was asked to pay $4,000 to prevent her grandson from going to jail.
Police said the woman withdrew $4,000 from her bank and returned home with the money. Later, police said the suspect in the case arrived at the woman’s home to take it.
“The victim was provided with a receipt and the suspect fled the scene in a white sedan,” police said, adding that their investigation into the theft is continuing.
Tips to avoid being scammed
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), grandparent scams are not uncommon and frequently target individuals who may be vulnerable because of their unquestioning love for their grandchildren.
“Scammers who gain access to consumers’ personal information–by mining social media or purchasing data from cyber thieves–are creating storylines to prey on the fears of grandparents,” a post about the scams states. “The scammers then call and impersonate a grandchild in a crisis situation, asking for immediate financial assistance. The callers may ‘spoof’ the caller ID that appears on the recipient’s phone to make an incoming call look like it’s coming from a trusted source.”
Law enforcement agencies typically advise anyone who receives this type of call to hang up and verify that a grandchild is OK by reaching to another family member before releasing any funds to the caller.
“Scammers often try to bully victims into transferring money through a mobile payment app, by wiring money, or by purchasing gift cards or money orders. If you receive a call like this, report it immediately to local law enforcement,” the FCC advises.