The FBI warns of it. The Michigan attorney general does. So does the one in Minnesota. And the one in Washington state. And it's reached Canada. The AARP has advice about it. Darien residents have fallen for it numerous times (see below for details).
But the elderly keep falling for it, as did a resident of Harbor Road last Wednesday, Aug. 14.
At 3:30 p.m., the woman received a call from a man who identified himself as an Ontario lawyer and said her granddaughter had been involved in a motor vehicle accident and charged with driving while under the influence after taking some cough syrup, according to a Darien police report.
The man said $490 would be needed to bail the young woman out of jail and suggested the woman send the funds by moneygram. A person posing as the granddaughter also got on the phone, and the grandmother believed it was her granddaughter.
Only when the real granddaughter visited her did the victim realize she'd been scammed. The granddaughter said she hadn't been arrested and hadn't been visiting Canada. With fees, the elderly woman was out a total of $527.
Police advice about preventing this scam
In a recent announcement, Darien police gave this advice:
"If you need to confirm whether a relative is in custody in another state or country, call the Darien Police Department at 203-662-5300. The scam artist may ask to have funds wired from a bank account or have money sent via Western Union or Money Gram. Never do this.
"If you have been victimized by this scam or have questions on how to protect yourself, please contact the Darien Detective Division at 203-662-5330. Information on this scam and other common frauds are available on our website."
It's happened before, right here in Darien
Here are some of the other recent cases of this type of scam victimizing elderly Darien residents:
- July 11, 2013: "A man claiming to be a Danbury police officer scammed an 81-year-old Darien man out of $4,500 by saying the man's grandson had been arrested."
- April 10, 2012: "An 84-year-old man was scammed out of $12,500 after a phone call from a phony police officer and a phony grandson, each giving the elderly man a story that $12,500 was needed to post bond at a distant police department."
- March 28, 2012: "A 77-year-old Darien grandmother was tricked into wiring $2,400 when she received a phone call from someone purporting to be her grandson."