Old phone scam reappearance: Late-night call from grandson or granddaughter may be a scam


August 22nd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A telephone scam that cropped up in Iowa several months ago is resurfacing and reportedly cost a north-central Iowa man 25-thousand dollars. Webster City Police Chief Brian Hughes explains how the scam works.

“We’ve had numerous calls from citizens in the community that have received phone calls from people pretending to be their grandson or granddaughter, telling them that they are in need of money due to a variety of reasons,” Chief Hughes says. “They were arrested or they were in some kind of accident in a foreign country and they needed money.” He says the scam might seem unlikely to succeed but the con artists can be very convincing.

“They’ll actually have them talk to different people representing themselves as a police sergeant or a bail bondsman or someone in some type of official capacity,” Hughes says. “They’ll ask the grandpa or grandma to wire the money to an account so their grandson or granddaughter can be released.” Hughes has advice for those who may receive this type of phone call.

“We have had one person file a police report for a large sum of money and we’ve had several others call,” he says. “A few, we’ve had to plead with them to call their grandson or granddaughter and check with their son or daughter to see what the situation is before they go ahead and forward any money.” He strongly urges people not to give out financial information to someone they don’t know over the phone.

The scam has been reported in southwest Iowa, as well. Most recently, this past June, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office warned residents about similar calls residents had been receiving. The same scam popped up about a year ago in this area, as well.

(Radio IA/KJAN News)