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Police: Watch out for the ‘grandparent scam’

Chron logo Chron 8/15/2018 By jennifer James, CORRESPONDENT

Friendswood police are warning about a “grandparent scam” in which the caller reports a grandchild in trouble and requests bail money. © Carsten Reisinger, Depressed Woman / Carsten Reisinger - Fotolia Friendswood police are warning about a “grandparent scam” in which the caller reports a grandchild in trouble and requests bail money. An 85-year-old woman found herself the latest victim of the “grandparent scam” after someone pretending to be her grandson called her Aug. 6 and swindled her out of $4,000, Friendswood, Texas police said.

A caller identifying himself as the grandson reportedly said he and a friend were arrested by a Houston police officer after running a red light on the way to a pharmacy. He told the victim he needed her help posting bail, police said.

The caller then told the victim that a “Sgt. Scott Davis” would explain everything, according to the report. Someone who identified himself as Davis allegedly told the victim to purchase $4,000 worth of Home Depot gift cards and said a “gag order” was in place.

The victim purchased four $1,000 gift cards at a Pearland Home Depot and provided the caller with the card numbers and identifying numbers, police said.

The caller reportedly told the woman her grandson would call her once he was released and given his cell phone back. She didn’t hear from the grandson; so she called his cell phone. That is when she realized she was scammed, police said.

“Our advice is to slow down and think about what you need to do to determine if the situation is real and check with other family members,” according to a Friendswood Police Department statement. “Many times these scammers are getting the names of your family members through your social media accounts, so let a tech-savvy family member check the security settings on your social media accounts.”

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