VPSO warns residents of circulating "Grandchild in Jail Scam"

Staff Report

The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office has received reports of the "Grandchild in Jail Scam" circulating in our area.

Citizens are being contacted by telephone and told that a loved one or family member is in jail and needs money either for bail, legal representation, or medical treatment.

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office has been notified by several residents of a new scam.

Some of these callers may provide names and addresses of family members. Scammers obtain such information online and this is NOT a good method of validating the legal authority of any caller.

DO NOT send ANY funds to these persons. DO NOT provide any personal identifying information to these persons.

Contact your local law enforcement agency to verify ANY arrests prior to additional communications with any unknown callers.

An example of the "Grandchild in Jail Scam" provided by AARP:

In upstate New York, an older couple receives a startling call from an unknown voice.  They are told their grandson has been in a car accident. The caller knows their grandson’s name, where he lives and other details about his life.  The caller shares alarming news that police suspect his grandson is at fault for the accident and are holding him in jail. If the grandparents want to help their grandson, they’ll need to pay for a lawyer and send money immediately. Terrified, the grandparents agree to cover the legal fees to get their grandson out of jail. They follow the caller’s instructions and send $5,400 in gift cards.  Then the caller demands $10,000 cash. The grandparents don’t yet realize that they are victims of the grandparent scam, a con targeting seniors by preying on their devotion to their families. In the U.S., grandparent scams are on the rise, with nearly $41 million in reported losses in 2018, up from $26 million in 2017. Before the ordeal is over, the couple will receive dozens of calls demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars and threatening their grandson.

 If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam or would like to report fraud call The Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360.  Anyone can become the victim of a scam, it’s important to be vigilant and know your vulnerabilities. For instance, if you are looking for a job you are more vulnerable to a work-at-home scam.