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Hingham, MA - An elderly resident fell victim to the common "Grandparent Scam" yesterday and was scammed out of $26,000.
On Tuesday December 20, 2022 the 87 year old resident received a phone call from an unfamiliar phone number. The caller explained her grandson had been in a car crash in Vermont and a pregnant woman was injured. The grandson had been arrested and she needed to call his lawyer to help arrange for his release on bail. The resident called the phone number the caller had given her and talked to the lawyer. The lawyer explained the bail was set at $26,000 cash. The lawyer told the woman the judge had place a gag order on the case so she was not allowed to talk about the incident with anyone.
The resident went to her local bank, withdrew the cash and returned home. She placed the money in a box. At approximately 6pm that night a woman from the bail bondsmen company arrived at her home. The woman knocked on the door and the resident gave her the box full of money.
The woman who picked up the money was described black, driving a black car and was dressed in black clothing. The resident described her as appearing to be possibly be in a "law enforcement capacity" but did not specifically see a badge or a full uniform.
Some reminders and tips:
- The caller ID name and phone number displayed can easily be changed to read anything the scammers want it to read. If you don't recognize and phone number, don't answer. If it's important, they will leave a message. This allows you time to verify who called you.
- The scammers are good at what they do and at prying information out from victims. For example, they may call and say "It's me, your grandson". The common response would be for the resident to ask "John, is that you? It doesn't sound like you?". The scammer then has the name of the grandchild and uses it to sound more personal. The scammer would say that they've been in a crash and injured their lips, teeth, mouth, etc. to explain why they sound different.
-The scammers try to not have you call anyone to verify that the grandchild is actually at home, work or school and not arrested. They do this by explaining how embarrassed they are at being arrested and plead for the grandparent not to tell anyone. They're playing on the hope that the grandparent instinctively wants to help. In this case, they actually claimed the judge put a "gag order" on the case to prevent them from talking about it before they send the money.
-This scam usually involved withdrawing cash and wiring it to the "lawyer" or buying gift cards. They then ask you to send pictures of the card numbers or reading them on the phone to the pay the bail.
-While this same scam has been happening in Hingham for the last 20 plus years, this is the first time that the scammers actually came to the home to pick up the cash. Typically, the money is wired or photos of the gift card numbers are sent to the scammer and they be in another country or another state.
Please, talk about this scam and how it works with your older parents or grandparents. These scammers are good at what they do and can only be stopped by being aware. We shared a similar message 2 weeks ago when area communities were reporting victims falling for the same scam. ### Contact P.I.O. Lt. Steven Dearth