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Police: Caller Tries To Scam Senior Out of Money

Caller poses as 84-year-old woman's grandson and tries to get her to wire money to him so he can get out of a Mexican jail.

Another instance of a caller posing as a senior’s grandson and asking for bail money to be wired out of the country was reported on Dec. 21.

An 84-year-old woman told that she received a call from an unknown male who claimed to be her grandson around 10 a.m. Police said the woman thought the man was really her grandson and called him by his first name.

The “grandson” said he went to Mexico for the weekend to attend a wedding and was under arrest after getting into a car accident. He told the woman he needed $2,900 wired to him so he could get out of jail. He also asked that the woman not tell his parents.

While talking to the “grandson” he told his grandmother to talk to his lawyer, a man named “Roger Schwartz.”

The lawyer asked the woman if she had $2,900 cash to send through Western Union to bail the grandson out of jail. “Roger” also informed her that there would be an additional fee between $80 and $150 in addition to the bail amount.

Police said the lawyer told the woman that her grandson “only had a few hours” and to send the money right away.

When the woman informed “Roger” that she didn’t handle her own finances and that she would have to call one of her sons for help, the lawyer got aggravated with her and hung up.

After she got off the phone, the woman called her son to help her. Police said the woman was crying and upset because she thought her grandson was locked up in jail in Mexico. The woman felt “panicky and afraid” after the phone call.

Police said the woman was unable to capture the phone number that appeared on her caller ID.

She was advised to contact relatives and the Oak Lawn police if the men called back to ask her to wire money.

During the fall, Oak Lawn Police Chief Bill Villanova told the village board of a similar scam that occurred on elderly couple from a caller posing as their grandson. The call originated from Canada and the caller told them he, too, was in jail and needed bail money.

Jim Vondracek January 05, 2012 at 01:22 PM
This happened with my in-laws and son this autumn, only the lawyer was calling from Florida.
Jimmy D January 05, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Don't offer up any names...make them give you the name.
Russ Petrick January 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Another way to handle it, is to ask them for a call back number because you need a little time to come up with the money. Chances are they won't have a number or give you an excuse why they can't or even just hang up. Contact relatives or the grandson to see what is up before doing anything else.They are preying on your emotions but if you keep them in check, chances are they will end the call. Very common occurance in Florida with the number of elderly down here.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) January 05, 2012 at 06:06 PM
These are all great tips. A lot of seniors in Oak Lawn aren't online news readers. If you have elderly neighbors or loved ones, let them know about this scam. I'm sure this has happened to folks in other communities as well.
Linda Gough January 05, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Those are all good responses; however, remember that a lot of seniors don't have "total" recall of their memory. My brother intentionally called my mother to try and wrangle information out of her.......she gave it up willingly and he nailed her for it. He still practices this with her as she is 90. Most of the time she is sharp as a tack but there are fleeting moments where that memory takes a walk in the park. I play cards with my mother and her friend - 87 - and constantly remind them to NEVER give out any information.
Irene January 06, 2012 at 09:47 PM
This scam happened to my elderly mother in Oak Lawn. The caller said he was a police officer who had a woman in custody who had an ID with my mom's name on it. He wanted my mother to go to her bank and take out some money from her account because they believed the woman deposited counterft money in her account. She put him on hold and came to me, because she lives with me, and I called the Oak Lawn police while he was on hold, but he became suspicious and hung up!!! These kind of people are the scum of the earth, trying to rob old people. May they burn in hell.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) January 07, 2012 at 03:41 AM
These stories are sad and shocking. I had no idea how pervasive this scam was.
Oak Lawn Gal January 08, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I don't think anyone in my family would fall for this but I'm going to share this with them anyway. It's a new scam I hadn't heard of. Elderly people often have better short term memory than long-term memory. So I think the family who's calling the 90 year old to get her used to not giving out info to strangers is doing a good thing.

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