Police issue warning on phone scam

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SALT LAKE CITY -- It's an old scam targeting the elderly, but people keep falling for it. On Thursday, the Salt Lake City Police Department issued a warning about the scam.

Police say the callers are so convincing because they tug at the heartstrings of grandparents. Last month, two elderly women in Salt Lake fell for the scam and lost between $2,900 and $5,000.

A woman who asked KSL News not to identify her said she knows it can happen to anyone. In May, her 84-year-old mother, who lives in Sandy, was targeted twice. It started with a phone call.

**What is the "grandparent" scam?**![](http://media.bonnint.net/slc/1248/124818/12481842.jpg)
Cons posing as relatives try to convince elderly victims to wire cash to help pay for emergency car repairs, medical bills - or even post bail. The cons tend to target elderly people who might have trouble recognizing voices over the phone. Because the cons usually claim to be embarrassed and ask to keep the incident a secret, victims neglect to verify the story before sending money.
**How to protect yourself?**
• **Don't fill in the blanks**. If the caller says, "It's your granddaughter," respond with "Which one?" Most likely, the perpetrator will then hang up. • **Verify the caller**. Always confirm your grandchild's identity by saying you will return the call at his or her home or on his cellphone (but don't ask the caller for it). If you don't have your grandchildren's phone numbers, contact a trusted family member for them. • **Be mum on account numbers**. Never provide your bank or credit card account numbers to any caller- regardless of the reason. • **Be suspicious of requests for money wires.** • **Call the police or state attorney general's office.** - *AARP*
"Somebody called her and said to her, 'Guess what grandson this is?' And so she said a few names, and he settled on one and used that for the rest of the phone call," the woman explained. Acting as her grandson, the man told the woman's grandmother he was in Canada, had a few drinks and got into an accident and needed money. She wired him $4,500.

The called her again the next day, thanked her for the money, and said he was in jail for the accident. He said he needed another $4,000 to settle the case. She gave him the money.

Police say in addition to the Sandy grandmother and the two elderly Salt Lake women, another Salt Lake woman almost fell for the scam.

"Any time they're asking for personal information and money and stuff like that, you really start thinking about, 'OK, is this a scam?'" said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Robin Snyder.

Police say it's difficult to track down the scammers because they're calling from outside the country.

E-mail: syi@ksl.com

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Sandra Yi


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