Mt. Laurel Police warn residents on family emergency scams

Police say the scams target older citizens, play on emotions, demand immediate action and swear their victims to secrecy in order to obtain money.

The following information comes from the Mt. Laurel Police Department:

The Mt. Laurel Police Department is warning residents on family emergency scams.

Police say another resident has fallen victim to a family emergency scam also known as the “Grandparent Scam.”

This scam unfolded on June 1, but was not reported to the police until June 19.

Police say that delayed reporting is common in cases like this, which adds to the difficulty in investigating and possibly recouping money that was lost.

In this case, police say a 78-year-old victim reported that she received a phone call from someone claiming to be a public defender representing her grandson who had been arrested for DWI in Delaware.

Police say she also spoke to someone who she believed was her grandson and he asked her for $6,000 so he could pay bail and be released from jail.

According to police, the scammers sent a taxi to her house to transport her to her bank, she withdrew the money and sent it to a subject in New York via overnight courier.

The next day, police say the victim received another call requesting an additional $8,000 because the police had found marijuana in his vehicle.

According to police, the victim was upset and worried for her grandson, so she complied and the scammers sent a taxi to her house to take her to the bank to withdraw the money.

Police say she sent the money to a different person in New York as instructed. On June 5, police say the victim received a third call. According to police, this time the scammers convinced her that her grandson had been arrested in California because he wasn’t supposed to be driving in any state due to his DWI arrest.

Police say they requested another $7,000 and she followed the same procedure as she had done before. According to police, the victim was told not to tell any of her family members so her grandson wouldn’t be embarrassed.

Police say the scammers called a fourth time but the victim had since learned that her grandson was fine and had never been arrested.

Police warn residents that such criminals as those listed in the incident above are professionals. Police say they often have done research on their victims and may know some basic information about them.

According to police, they target older citizens, play on emotions, demand immediate action and swear their victims to secrecy.

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money, police offer the following tips:

• Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how
dramatic the story is.

• Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a
stranger couldn’t possibly answer.

• Call a phone number for a family member or friend that
is known to be genuine.

• Check the story out with family members or friends
even if told to keep it a secret.

• Don’t wire money or send a cash, check or money
order by overnight delivery or courier.