Belfast police warn against ‘grandparent scam’

Posted Feb. 16, 2012, at 7:58 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — Police are urging area seniors to beware of a “ grandparent scam,” which almost cost a local woman thousands recently.

In this telephone scam, elderly people receive a call purportedly from their grandchildren who are in trouble in a foreign country, according to Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham of the Belfast Police Department. The caller then asks for money to be sent by Western Union so they can get home.

“One lady took $2,200 out of the bank,” he said.

The Belfast woman went to Western Union at the Hannaford grocery store in order to send it to what she thought was her grandson in Spain.

“But store officials urged her to get more information before wiring the money,” Cunningham said. “She found out that it was, in fact, bogus.”

Another woman received a similar phone call but called police to alert them to the scam. He said he is worried that others may have been taken in by the fake plea for help.

“Before you send any money out, confirm with somebody, that’s all,” he said. “It’s such a shame.”

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