Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

November 26, 2013

Sheriff's department warns of phone scam

TRAVERSE CITY — Grandparents: Be wary of phone calls from your oldest grandson.

The calls may be part of an elaborate scam aimed at the heartstrings and generosity of elderly patriarchs and matriarchs. Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fewless said residents in Garfield and Peninsula townships reported the scam, and he believes there’s more to come.

“It seems fairly prevalent,” said Traverse City Police Capt. Mike Ayling. “Unfortunately, we’ve had several victims, as well.”

Authorities said victims reported receiving calls purportedly from their oldest grandson. The victim may accidentally slip with their grandson’s name and the suspect goes into a “sob story” usually involving arrest, such as for drugs in Mexico or a drunken accident or fight.

The suspect explains their unusual voice by saying they broke their nose in the fight or accident.

Then the suspect asks the grandparent to send money without the parent’s knowledge for bond or an attorney and even continues with the scam in subsequent callbacks from the victims.

Authorities tracked some such money transfer payments to accounts in South America.

The sheriff’s department encourages individuals to be cautious and follow up on the solicitous calls before providing money or personal information.

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