Sweetwater Sheriff’s Office issues phone swindle alert
‘Grandson in trouble’ scam making rounds again
by County Sheriff’s Office
March 24, 2013
(Rock Springs, Wyoming) The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an advisory concerning a recurrent phone swindle circulating in Sweetwater County that targets seniors.
Colonel Rick Hawkins said the victim receives a telephone call from a man who identifies himself as the person’s grandson and goes on to say that he is in jail after being involved in an accident and needs money for bail, damages, and attorney expenses.
The first call is often followed up by a second, from a man who represents himself as the bogus grandson’s attorney, who "confirms" the story and presses the victim to wire the funds - usually $2,000 to $4,000 - right away.
There are variations of this scam, authorities said. In other instances, the phony grandson will tell his victim that he was fishing (often in Canada) when his boat was searched and drugs were found. But the common denominator is always the same - a grandson in legal trouble who needs money fast.
The other common factor is that the caller will insist that the victim wire the money through Western Union or other service or to provide bank account routing numbers. Officials emphasized that wiring money is virtually no different than sending cash - there are no protections present for the sender and typically there is no way to reverse the transaction or recover payment once the transaction has gone through.
"The swindlers do some research on the Internet before they make their calls," Hawkins said. "That’s a big part of making it all sound authentic." He encouraged Sweetwater County residents to be alert for similar calls, and to confirm independently any such information with other relatives before sending off any money.