Public alerted about grandparent scam

Law enforcement is warning citizens about a scam that has been reported in Chadron and Scottsbluff that is targeting senior citizens.

Scottsbluff Police Captain Brian Wasson says victims, typically the elderly, have been contacted by telephone. Suspects pose as family members, many times the grandchild, and claim to have been in an accident and that they are being arrested.

Wasson says the caller indicates that they are in need of money to post bond and be released from custody. A 2nd suspect will then get on the phone posing as law enforcement and advise the victims to send money and how this should be done. The caller also says not to contact anyone else about the situation.

Wasson says in recent cases the suspects actually have contacted delivery companies such as Fed Ex or UPS who will then come to the door and pick up the money orders or checks which attempts to legitimize the request. The checks or money order are then sent to various addresses in the United States which is also a new trend in the scam. In prior cases the monies were sent to other countries, primarily Canada.

Wasson indicates the callers have in most cases researched online records and are aware of the names of grandchildren and other family members, again attempting to legitimize the scam.

Family members who care for the elderly or potential victims are encouraged to educate those they care for. Also law enforcement will not contact people asking for money to assist in getting someone out of jail. Another warning sign is the scammers warn victims not to contact the police or disclose information to family members. Recent cases have involved thousands of dollars being sent to the suspects.

Any suspicious activity such as this should be reported to law enforcement immediately.

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