New Scam Alert: Your Grandchild Is In Jail

Part of keeping our communities safe from scammers is making sure that our neighbors are informed of new scams that we are hearing about in the area. Recently, grandparents have been getting calls about their “grandchild being in jail.” The scam has been going a little something like this…alert-icon

Grandparents get a call from the scammers pretending to be the “Police Department”. The scammers, posing as the police, tell them that their grandchild is in jail. They want the grandparent to go to Best Buy and purchase $2,000 worth of gift cards, and then call them back with the gift card information so that they will release their grandchild from jail.  The scammers, of course, don’t have the grandchild so they won’t let the grandparent talk to them. They also tell the grandparent not to tell anyone, which just worries them more.

At this point, the grandparent is so worried about their grandchild that they go and purchase the Best Buy gift cards.  They call the scammers, who are still posing as the “Police”, and they ask the grandparent to give them the gift card details over the phone.  The scammers then ask for more money, at which time the grandparent thinks something is not quite right, and they refuse to give any more money/gift cards.  The grandparent even asks the person a question they know only their grandchild would know, and the scammer refused to answer at that time.   The grandparent was out $2,000 though, and their grandchild was never actually in jail.

Please make sure to share this story with the grandparents in your life so that if they are targeted, they will know to protect themselves and their account information.

Some good reminders if you or someone you know gets this type of phone call:

  • The police will never ask for bail to be paid using gift cards
  • Call your local police department (lookup their phone number in the phone book or on their official website) and ask them for help, but do not send money.
  • Call family members, even if the scammer says they don’t want you to call anyone else, and find out where the grandchild is.  If you cannot get ahold of your grandchild directly, call their mom, dad, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends etc.
  • If you’ve given your card information out, call the bank and cancel your card and try to stop the transaction.