Tuesday, February 17, 2009


SOFFAST would like members of the community to be aware of a new scam, particularly targeting the elderly population. The scammer contacts a victim and claims to be their grandchild. Often the scammer has correct information, including the grandchild's name and general information. The scammer claims to have been in an accident or arrested in Canada and requires money to get out of jail. The scammer requests their grandparent wire them money via Western Union or Money Gram into Canada so they can post bail and/or pay court fees. The scammers are very convincing and several residents in the area have fallen victim to this scam or have reported receiving these phone calls.

Always confirm the identity of the person requesting money. Contact your grandchildren directly, or their parents to confirm their whereabouts. Even if the scammer asks that you not "tell their parents".

Never send money by wire out of the country to an unknown source. There is no way to get it back once it is wired. If you are sure it is your grandchild requesting money, find out where they were arrested and contact the police/courts in that area directly, requesting information on how to post bail.

Do not trust any information the person on the phone provides, including phone numbers to their lawyer, the courts or the police. Look up the information yourself and contact the appropriate law enforcement agency directly.

It is unfortunate that scammers prey upon their victim's concern for family members. Because of their urgency and familiarity with the victims, they have been successful in obtaining money. Take time to verify the information the caller provides and do not act hastily. Do not wire money before contacting other relatives and your local law enforcement agency.

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