New scam targeting grandparents - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

New scam targeting grandparents

BOYNTON BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A grandparent picks up the phone in Boynton Beach. On the other end: a grandson asking for money to get out of a jam.

The crook is usually calling from somewhere out of the country.

When Chris Bunker, 70, answered his phone, the voice on the other end said, "Grandpa, do you know who this is?"

"I only have one grandson, so I said, is this Derek? He said yes, and he proceeded to tell me that he was in Canada and that he was in trouble with the police. He was with people he didn't really know, they found cocaine," Bunker remembered.

The voice said $4,000 in bail money needed to be wired, and pronto. "It's kind of shocking. The first thing that comes to your mind is that it's your grandson. That's all important," said Bunker.

He hung up and started figuring out where to get the money.

Soon, another call came from another smooth-talker, saying he was a police sergeant in Canada.

The caller even had real-sounding case numbers. "So many things are running through my mind. You're thinking 'is he all right? He's in jail,' " said Bunker.

Boynton police say they've gotten at least one other call about this, in which a grandpa was fooled into sending five grand to an account in Mexico.

"They're targeting anybody they can get money from. I'm sure they call people, some don't fall for it at all, and they move on to the next person," said Det. Michael Vail of the Boynton Beach Police Department.

Bunker snuffed it out by doing research and realizing that the area codes the call was coming from weren't anywhere near the part of Canada the fake sergeant said he was working in.

He also wanted the money wired through an account in Mexico City.

Bunker is now making calls of his own.

"We're trying to let anybody know. This is a step in that direction. The more people that know, we'll just shut them off," said Bunker.

Police believe the scammers are cold-calling people, just looking through the phone book and dialing whatever numbers they find.

Police say it's hard to catch these types of criminals who are overseas, because they don't have jurisdiction there.

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