Allentown
73° F
Heavy Thunderstorms and Rain
Heavy Thunderstorms and Rain

'Grandparent scam' swindles Schuylkill County woman out of $13,000

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 30 2013 12:32:28 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 02 2013 04:35:30 AM CST

Phone scam targets elderly

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. -

It's a cruel con that has swindled elderly residents out of thousands of dollars.

On Wednesday, police in Schuylkill County say a local woman was targeted by the "grandparent scam."

In this case, a 79-year-old Orwigsburg woman got a phone call. The person on the other end claimed to be her grandson. He told her he was involved in a fatal car crash in a foreign country, and needed more than $13,000 as soon as possible.

While this entire scenario was fiction, the scam is very real and very convincing.

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials say once a trusting person wires money to another state or overseas, it is virtually impossible to trace or recover.

"It's not the guy that lives in the next town over that's doing this scam, it is probably a well organized group of people that are doing it," explained State Police Trooper David Beohm. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Police say the "grandparent scam" is a common way to defraud seniors, and similar ploys are widespread.

"I think some people who get scammed may not even report it to law enforcement just for fear or embarrassment," Beohm added.

Strangers asking for money, or being required to send cash to get a jackpot should all be red flags something isn't right.

"You want to check into whatever is going on," shared Beohm. "You need to do a little research, don't automatically think that this is true."

For more information, visit the FBI website.