An elderly Belmont woman became the latest victim of the “Grandson” fraud this week, loosing
almost $3,000 before realizing it was a scam, according to Belmont police.
Capt. Pat Halleran of the Belmont Police Dept. said the scam began on Friday, Aug. 23, when the 85-year-old victim received a telephone call from a male, who identified himself as her grandson. The suspect told the the woman that he was in the Dominican Republic for a wedding and had been involved in a car accident. The suspect said he needed money for medical bills and was afraid to call his parents.
Police say the woman followed the suspect’s
instructions, and wired him about $1,500. Several hours later, she received a
second call, where the suspect explained that he needed an additional $1,300, which she also sent.
On Sunday the woman received a third phone call, where the suspect requested another $3,000. Just as she was about to send the money, the woman learned that her grandson was still in California and had never been in the Dominican Republic. The woman called Belmont Police on Monday to report the loss.
It is unknown how the suspect picked this victim, but investigators have learned that her grandson had recently been the victim of credit card fraud.
“This scam takes advantage of people’s natural desire to help a loved one in need and the suspects target seniors because they can be vulnerable and good-natured” said Belmont Police Chief Dan DeSmidt.
"If they are victimized, they are often too embarrassed to report it and
when they do call us, we have a difficultly because the suspects are often out of the country,”
Chief DeSmidt added.
Police are taking this opportunity to remind the public, especially seniors, to be suspicious of any unsolicited calls requesting money, even if the caller claims to be a family member. They say to be on the lookout for callers who insist that money be sent right away and always follow up with family members before sending any payments.