The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

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April 30, 2012

Telephone scam reported locally

GREENVILLE — Another telephone scam is reported to be making the rounds in the area, targeting elderly individuals with grandchildren.

Helen Ray of Greenville contacted the Herald-Banner to report that she, unfortunately, was one of the victims.

“I got scammed out of $700 Wednesday,” Ray said.

She explained she received an urgent call, allegedly from her grandson, who was in Mexico and who was in desperate need of $700.

“He absolutely sounded exactly like my grandson, so I sent him $700,” Ray said. But it wasn’t her grandson and the call wasn’t from Mexico.

“Actually the call came from California,” Ray said. “My grandson was in Dallas the whole time.”

Known as the “It’s me” scam, variations have been making the rounds for some time and was reported prevalent in Hunt County about three years ago.

Under the scam, the perpetrator calls up an elderly person pretending to be a relative in distress in need of some quick cash, who asks that the money be transferred into a phony bank account.

Previous versions have had “grandchildren” locked up in a jail in another city, or even another country, who need their grandparent(s) to send money for their bail. In some cases, once the victim calls the number the fake grandchild provided, the person receiving the call is also able to obtain information to access the victim’s bank account or use their number to make long distance phone calls.

Anyone who may receive such suspicious calls should contact their local law enforcement agency.

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