On Friday, a Lakewood man received a call from someone claiming to be his grandson.
The caller told the man he needed money and convinced him to wire $2,800 to Bolivia.
Afterward, the Lakewood man learned that he had been scammed by a stranger.
This con — which is alternately called the "grandparent scam" or "grandchild" scam — is very common across the country.
There are variations on the scam, but they usually involve a desperate call from a person pretending to be a grandchild who is in trouble in another country and needs cash.
Usually, the caller insists on a wire transfer of money or a prepaid cash card, and begs the grandparent not to tell any other family members about it.
Furthermore, the scammer may sometimes have an accomplice who pretends to be a law officer, attorney or hospital worker.
This scam is common enough that the .
Grafton Police Chief Normand Crepeau advises that anyone receiving a call like this:
- Resist the pressure to act quickly.
- Verify the caller by saying you will call them back.
- Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to make sure the call is legitimate.
- Be suspicious of all requests for money wires.. Wiring money is like giving cash - once you send it, you can’t get it back.
- Don’t fill in the blanks. If the caller says, “It’s your granddaughter,” ask “Which one?”
- Never, under any circumstances, provide your bank or credit card account numbers to any caller.
People who suspect they have been a victim of this scam are encouraged to contact their local police.
They can also file a complaint with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 1-800-441-2555 or electronically at www.attorneygeneral.gov.