Consumers being warned of 'grandparent' scam

Posted at 7:18 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 22:18:00-04

The public is being warned of a scheme in which scammers are pretending to be grandchildren in trouble and calling grandparents to ask for money.

Vista resident Becky Gelvezon contacted 10News because her in-laws almost wired $10,000 to a scammer earlier this week. She said they even had the checkbook out.

According to Gelvezon, her 69-year-old mother-in-law took the call.

"She answers the phone and it's a child's voice sounding like my 13-year-old and he says, 'Hi grandma,'" Gelveson said. "She says, 'Well your voice sounds a little different,' and he says, 'Well, there's something going around school.'"

When Gelvezon's mother asked where her grandson Cameron was, the person posing as the grandson told her that he was at the Vista Detention Center and said, "Don't tell my mom." He went onto explain that he was with a friend who got pulled over for speeding and cocaine was in the car.

The caller even knew the name of a friend Cameron spent time with to say on the call. Then the caller said he had to go and handed the phone to an "officer."

"Somebody comes on and he says he's Officer Edwards and he goes on to explain that it's a drug case and he needs $10,100 dollars in order to get Cameron out of jail," said Gelvezon.

The scammer provided bank account information for a TD account in New York.

Fortunately, a family friend who was stopping by convinced the grandparents this was not Cameron on the phone. Cameron was actually on a walk with his mom at the time.

"I don't want anybody to lose their money to these losers," Gelvezon said.

It is extremely easy for scammers to block their calls. Anyone can do it by dialing "*67" before a phone number.

If you get a call like this, experts advise everyone to not give in to the pressure to act quickly. Do verify it's a relative by asking personal questions, like where he or she was born or the name of a family pet. They will likely tell you not to contact the child's parents, but you should to verify where the child is.

Click here to report a scam.