Notorious ‘grandparent scam’ targets Wildwood mother

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A Wildwood resident notified police that she received a call from a scammer yesterday. It appears to have been an attempt to pull off a well-known phone scam known as the “grandparent scam.”

The woman told News 4 she got a call from a crying woman claiming to be her daughter and that she was in legal trouble. The woman said a man on the phone claimed to be a police officer in Chicago. But before he could demand money to pay for bail, the Wildwood mother disconnected the call.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, victims are tricked into sending scammers tens of millions of dollars every year. The scam is referred to as the “grandparent scam” because it often targets older adults with a call claiming to be from a distraught grandson or granddaughter in jail. The scammers try to catch their victims off guard and convince them to send money to pay for bail before the victim can take time to verify the caller’s claims.

Mary Sutter said her mother, who lives in Wisconsin, was victimized by the scam two years ago.

“I think it’s disgusting. To catch people when they’re so vulnerable and they’re elderly, they’re on a limited income. I mean, find another way to make a living,” she said.

To avoid being the victim of this kind of scam, police recommend that people resist the urge to act immediately, take time to verify the information and do not wire money or send gift cards to someone claiming to be a grandchild.