Park County Sheriff warns of grandparent phone scam

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward is again warning residents of a telephone scam involving elderly residents commonly referred to as the “Grandparents Scam.” The scam involves fraudulent telephone calls to the elderly seeking money whereby the caller pretends to be a “loved one in distress.”

The most recent case involved an elderly Cody resident who received a call from someone claiming to be his brother. The brother claimed to have been arrested out of a motor vehicle crash and taken to jail. The supposed brother then claimed he had an attorney with him who explained to the victim that his brother was fine but needed bond money. The victim then proceeded to send cash in the amount of $5,900.00 in three separate transactions. It was not until the fourth request for money that the victim took it upon himself to contact his brother thereby determining that the first three calls were fraudulent.

“The suspects in these crimes are very good at what they do,” commented Sheriff Steward. “They have ways of conversing with the victims that often trick them into revealing information about their loved ones that they otherwise would not know. For example, the caller may say something like; ‘Your grandson has been arrested.’ The victim would then reply with the grandson’s name, saying something to the effect; ‘You mean Jason?’ The suspect now has the grandson’s name which will make subsequent conversations seem all the more authentic.”

Sheriff Steward continues to warn residents to be suspicious of these calls. “Always get as much information from the caller as possible and then take steps to independently verify the information before sending any money or giving any personal information. For example, make an attempt to contact your loved one using information you already have in your possession. Or look up the number of the supposed law enforcement agency involved and call them direct to verify the reported situation.”

“Any telephone call, email or other communication that asks for cash, credit card numbers or personal information should immediately send up a red flag,” concluded Steward. “If residents have any questions or concerns, they can always contact our Communications Center at 307-527-8700 for assistance.”