WINCHESTER — Is your grandchild in jail? He or she probably isn’t, but that won’t stop scammers from trying to convince you otherwise and take your money.
According to Winchester police, there’s a new/old scam going around that’s hit various communities in Massachusetts targeting the elderly (mainly those 65-70 and older). The scammer will search online databases for the names and ages of various senior residents, then using that information, plus additional information such as the names of any grandchildren old enough to potentially be in college or away from home, call and state the grandchild is in jail.
To make the scam even more legitimate, the scammer usually puts on the phone another person who will pretend to be the grandchild’s attorney and he or she will ask the grandparent for money, usually in the thousands of dollars. In fact, the scammer will even send a courier to the grandparents’ house to collect the money.
Sometimes, however, the scammer will ask the grandparent to wire the money or to purchase gift cards and read off the account numbers. Plus, to make it even more convincing, sometimes scammers will have someone pretend to be the grandchild and ask for help.
While the scam has happened in nearby communities, it hasn’t specifically reached this area yet (though one scam did reportedly occur in Tewksbury). Either way, senior residents should be on alert that if someone calls stating a grandchild is in jail, it’s most likely a scam and they shouldn’t send anyone any money or buy any gift cards.
Residents should alert their local police department if they think they or a relative have been the victim of such a scam. Unfortunately, it can be underreported due to the fact many seniors are too scared to tell anyone, even police. They only want their grandchild home safe.