Police Warn Residents of “Grandparents Scam” Over Spring Break

With spring break approaching, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Chad Hill warns people of the all too common “grandparent” scam.
The call targets the elderly by having someone calling and pretending to be a grandchild. The person will claim they got into trouble and need money to bail out of jail.
Scammers also have posed as police officers to attempt to bilk money out of people.
Deb Fivecoate, a resident of Mentone, said her mother recently was targeted. Her 91-year-old mother got a phone call from a man claiming to be her grandson.
The caller said he had been at a Chicago Blackhawks game and got into trouble and needed money to bail out of jail.
“I’m lucky she doesn’t have any money or she would have given it to him,” Fivecoate said.
Hill said the story is all too familiar: They got arrested and they money to get out of jail. He said they usually convince the person to put the money on an untraceable credit card.
“The person is usually crying and in distress and convinces the victim that is their family member,” he said. “They prey on fears and emotions and usually request the money right away, before someone has a chance to think it through.”
The police department usually sees more of the grandparent scams around spring break, Hill said.
“They want to make the story as plausible as possible to be true,” he said.
The scammers are next to impossible to catch.
“They’re thieves, but they’re intelligent thieves,” he said.
Hill says many of them operate form out of state or even out of the country. They use untraceable credit cards or/and untraceable phone lines.
“If you give money to these people, that money is gone,” Hill said.
He said there are so many scams he keeps a file of press releases on his desk that he sends to media outlets.
“Sometimes I just change the date,” he said. Hill said police “flood” the media with reports to warn people about the grandparent scam and other prevalent scams.
The best thing a resident can do is hang up on these scams. Hill said if a person does get sucked in, the person should verify the information with the police or other family members.