Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Warns of the “Grandparent Scam”

Over the last several months, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement, in general, has seen an increase in telephone and computer scams. Although there are several scams such as the IRS scam, Jamaican lottery scam, and others, the scam that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent is the “grandparent scam”.

This particular scam is an attempt to take advantage of the fact that a grandparent will do virtually anything to help their grandchild.

The scam is perpetrated by a telephone call from the “alleged” grandchild. In many cases, the voice on the telephone closely resembles the voice of the grandchild and the individual (scammer) provides a story that they are in trouble and need money, immediately. The trouble could range from the grandchild claiming that they are in jail and need bail money to they need to hire an attorney. In some cases, another individual (scammer) gets into the conversation claiming that he/she is an attorney for the grandchild. Once again, an attempt to make the call appear to be real and further heightening the immediacy. In other cases, the caller (scammer portraying a grandchild) claims that they are traveling and have lost their wallet and/or travel documents. The caller (scammer) ALWAYS portrays a sense of urgency. Lastly, the caller (scammer) asks the grandparent for money. It should be noted the caller (scammer) somehow has gathered enough information about the family, where the family lives and other information not readily available, but because the scammer has done some research it adds another dimension of realism to the request.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office urges anyone who receives a call from their “grandchild”, especially calls requesting money and expressing a sense of urgency to listen, ask the individual (scammer) for a call back number and verify the validity of the call before sending money, providing a credit card number or sending gift cards. A simple call directly to the grandchild if possible or to the grandchild’s parents can often determine whether the call is legitimate or not.

Grandparents have lost thousands of dollars because they have done what every grandparent would do and that is to respond immediately and send money to a scammer thinking that they were actually helping their grandchild out of trouble.

Further inquiries can be address to;

Sheriff Kevin J. Joyce

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

(207) 774- 1444 ext. 2115