Typically, the caller immediately asks for "grandma" or "grandpa" when someone answers the phone, and claims that they have been arrested or robbed, or has lost their passport.
In the recent case, according to Middletown Police, the caller claimed to have been in an accident and asked for $2,000, sent by wire transfer to New Jersey, to pay off the person whose car had been hit.
The caller also said he wanted to keep the accident a secret from his parents, the police statement noted.
Callers in these scams also reply "your grandson" when asked who is calling — and when the victim uses a real name, the caller then assumes that name during the rest of the call to make it seem more real.
Police issued these tips for anyone who receives one of these scam calls:
- Listen to what the caller is saying rather than speak.
- Ask the caller questions rather than answer their questions.
- Request a call-back number, then try to reach the family member [who the caller is claiming to be] and see if they're really in trouble. Typically, the caller will not provide a valid number.
If you feel you've received one of these scam phone calls, do not send any money by wire. Contact your local police department or call 9-1-1.