Portland police warn of ‘grandparent scam’ that claims grandkids are in trouble

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The Portland Police Bureau is warning people about the “grandparent scam” that involves callers claiming a grandchild is in trouble and immediate payment is required to help them.

The scam has been around in various forms for many years, but officers reminded the public about it Friday and asked for information to be shared with family and friends who could fall prey to it.

The typical scam involves a frantic call from a "grandchild" in trouble, or someone saying the grandchild is in trouble with the law, had an accident or is detained in a foreign country while on vacation. These calls often come late at night and the callers express urgency and the need for an immediate wire transfer of cash to help the grandchild.

“The scammers are very crafty and are very convincing in many cases, so much so that victims truly believe the caller is a relative,” according to the Portland Police Bureau.

The latest version of the scam has the caller asking for cash and iTunes gift cards to be purchased and shared with the caller as “bail.”

In some cases, the scammers have hacked into social media accounts to send messages to friends and family with urgent demands for money.

The Portland Police Bureau reminds people to never send money and don’t wire money out of the country to anyone you don’t know. Always be skeptical and ask questions only a family member would know like pet names or favorite books, without revealing too much personal information.

Victims suffering a financial loss should report incidents to local law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Attorney General's Office, Department of Justice.

For more, go to www.doj.state.or.us/Pages/index.aspx.

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