Police warn of “Grandma Scam”

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – Police say someone conned thousands of dollars from elderly victims here in Indiana.

It’s called the Grandma Scam. Someone calls an elderly victim and says they need money, typically to get out of jail.

“I got a call and he said it was Stevie my grandson,” said Sally Hren of Greenwood who got the call Tuesday morning.

“He said, ‘Grandma I’m in jail; I need bond money. Bond money is $2,500,'” said Hren.

Hren’s dilemma was one of two that occurred this week in Johnson County. A call to another victim required $13,000.

“Unfortunately when we have 85-year-olds and 62-year-olds giving $13,000 in one instance, and $2,500 in another, it continues to be a concern for us,” said Doug Cox, Johnson County Sheriff.

In Hren’s case the caller told her to get GreenDot MoneyPak cards. After she returned home, she called the telephone number back, and revealed the hidden numbers on the card.

Authorities say Hren received the call from (760)770-8888. But she was told to return the call to (514)224-3849. The other victim was also told to callback on the same number.

24-Hour News 8 called the number Wednesday and a man who identified himself as Richard Bronson from the Culver City, CA Police Department said he was not involved in the scheme. 24-Hour News 8 also called the police department, dispatchers said “Richard Bronson” didn’t work there, and that they were aware of the scam.

The 514 area code originates out of Montreal, Canada.

Cox says the majority of these scams originate out of the country, and says the likelihood of the culprits being caught are slim.

“I would love to tell anybody that’s bilking the seniors here in Johnson County to cease and desist,” said Cox.

Police say verify who the caller is by asking about other family members, or family pets could be a good sign it is a scam. They also say before sending money, call the family member who is supposedly in jail.

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