The Sammamish Police Department wants to let the public know that an insidious telephone and wire scam is still active. Called the "Grandson scam," the ploy is an effort to defraud elderly people into wiring thousands of dollars to unknown parties, purportedly to help their grandchild out of various serious legal jams. It has cost local residents
An incident earlier this week ended up fine, thanks to the suspicions of a Sammamish resident, but police say it serves as a reminder to warn your parents and other loved ones and never wire money based on a phone call.
The department issued the following statement on Aug. 8:
Yesterday a Sammamish resident reported receiving a phone call consistent with Grandson Scam calls we’ve seen in the past. The resident received a call from someone who sounded like his grandson and said he was in trouble in Argentina and need bail money. Another person came on the line and said he was Chris Jenkins with the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. He instructed our resident to send $250,000 via Western Union in Argentina, payable to his grandson (he used the grandson’s correct name). Our resident continued to ask “Jenkins” for a phone number to call him back and he hung up.
Fortunately this gentleman recognized the scam and was not taken in by it. He did say both people he spoke to were quite convincing. I know you all did this story a few months ago, but the scam is ongoing and I’m sure another reminder to the public wouldn’t hurt.
The department said its message/advice remains the same:
- Avoid volunteering information over the phone. Always ask callers to identify themselves by name and ask individuals who contact you to provide information that only you and people close to you would know.
- Call the friend or relative claiming to need your help to confirm whether the story is true, using a phone number you know to be genuine. If you aren’t able to contact the person, call other friends or family members to confirm the situation.
- Refuse to send money via wire transfer.
- If you have wired money and it hasn't been picked up yet, call the wire transfer service to cancel the transaction. Once the money has been picked up, there is no way to get it back.
- Trust your gut.