Portland grandparents targeted by phone scam - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland grandparents targeted by phone scam involving grandchildren

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Scammers are targeting local grandparents and getting away with thousands of dollars.

On Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, two people in Portland received calls from someone claiming that their grandchildren had been arrested and were in foreign jails.

In one case, the victim spoke to a young woman claiming to be her granddaughter. The scammer said she was being held behind bars in British Columbia.

The victim then spoke to a man claiming to be a law enforcement officer who told the victim she would need to wire $3,400 to a bank in Bolivia to have her granddaughter released. The victim wired the money and returned to the bank to wire an additional $2,500 when bank workers called police to check on the situation.

In the other case, the victim described a similar situation, this time involving her supposed grandson in jail in Port Au Prince, Haiti. The victim was scammed into wiring more than $2,600 to Haiti.

The victim then received another call the next day saying that the charges had been dropped, and she would need to wire another $1,600 to Haiti for attorney's fees. At this point the victim contacted her grandson's mother who said the boy was in school and most definitely not in Haiti.

In both cases, the scammers had very personal information about both kids, including names and personal information, making their pitch very believable.

The U.S. State Department has more information online about the scam, including resources and information if you are targeted. It can be found at travel.state.gov.

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