The Colorado Springs Police Department is warning the community about a nation-wide phone scam that has hit Colorado Springs.
Police say they have heard at least two complaints locally of this scam, that targets the elderly.
Police say this is the scenario in the scam:
"A grandparent receives a frantic call from someone they believe to be their grandchild. The supposed grandchild is distressed and if their voice is questioned they say that they have an illness. The supposed grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble while traveling in Canada (such as being arrested, involved in a car accident, or needing emergency car repairs). They ask the grandparent to wire money to them in Canada so they can get out of the trouble they are in. Typically the caller asks for several thousand dollars. (In Colorado Springs the victims were asked for between $4300 and $5000)
In some cases the elderly victim "fills in the blanks" for the scammer. For instance, the victim answers the telephone and the scammer says something like, "Hi Grandma, its your favorite grandson." When the victim guesses the name of the grandchild that the caller sounds most like, the scammer takes on the identity of that grandchild.
A variation of the scam involves two scammers. One poses as a grandchild under arrest and the second scammer poses as a law enforcement officer. This person will get on the phone with the grandparents to explain what "fines" need to be paid.
In both local cases and in cases around the nation, the elderly victims say the scammer sounded "exactly" like their grandchild.
You can avoid being scammed by doing the following:
1. Stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency
2. Verify the identity and location of the grandchild in trouble
3. Call another family member who can verify the location of the grandchild (this "distressed grandchild" will typically tell you not to tell his parents)
4. You can also try to contact your "real grandchild" by another telephone number that you have for them to see if they are in trouble
5. As always, remember to never give out any personal information over the telephone to include bank account numbers or credit card numbers.