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Another local victim ripped off in the ‘grandson in jail’ scam
Make sure to verify identity before sending money

Another person has lost money in a common scam that targets seniors and involves suspects who pretend they are relatives needing money due to some type of crisis.

This time, the victim was a 75-year-old Chino Valley man.

On Wednesday, April 4, he told deputies with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) he received a phone call from an individual who sounded like his grandson claiming to need bail money. The so-called ‘grandson’ said he had been in a DUI-related collision in Florida that caused a lot of property damage. The impersonator then went on to say that he had retained a lawyer who would provide further details during the call. The victim was directed not to involve any other family as his ‘grandson’ wanted to avoid further trouble. During the call, the ‘grandson’ mentioned a family friend who recently died of cancer which, because it was true, afforded some credibility to the call, according to a YCSO news release.

Another man came on the line identifying himself as a lawyer and indicated to the victim that at least 10 percent of a $10,000 bond was needed to get his ‘grandson’ out of jail. The lawyer noted he was able to get a small discount and would only charge $960.

Believing this to be the truth, the victim went to the grocery store in Chino Valley and sent a $960 money order to a location in the Dominican Republic as directed. After sending the money order, the victim received a phone call from the lawyer’s ‘assistant’ explaining that the person his ‘grandson’ hit was in bad shape and this resulted in a bond increase and the need for more money. When the victim asked to speak with the lawyer, he was told the lawyer was busy and would call back. The ‘lawyer’ never did and the victim realized he had been scammed and verified his grandson was not in jail.

“Even with ongoing media notifications and community alerts by crime prevention officials to residents throughout the county, the ‘grandparent’ scam continues to victimize our seniors,” said YCSO spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn. “Suspects are generally calling from locations all over the world. Please share this information with seniors in your family or those under your care.”

Social networking sites are the most likely source for suspects to gain knowledge of family members, which lends believability when conversing with victims, D’Evelyn said.

“We also encourage store clerks to intervene and politely question the transaction when they sense a senior may be involved in such scams,” D’Evelyn said.

Information provided by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office

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