A Platteville woman got what police call the “grandparent scam” telephone call earlier this month.
The woman received a call from someone who claimed to be that person’s grandson, saying he was at a funeral of a high school friend who had been killed by a drunk driver in Mexico.
The caller said he had accepted a ride in a car from someone he didn’t know. The caller claimed the car was pulled over by police, who arrested him after finding marijuana in the car. The caller sought $2,000 to get out of jail, promising to return the money in two days.
The woman then spoke to someone who identified himself as the supervisor of bail at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, who gave instructions to send the money to Haiti, not Mexico, because the marijuana came from Haiti.
According to police, the caller’s instructions included withdrawing $1,950 in cash from a bank, sending the money via Moneygram from a local store to Port au Prince, Haiti, and, if asked, telling anyone who asked that “a friend needed the money.” The caller said if the money weren’t sent, he would be extradited from Mexico to Haiti to stand trial.
After the call, the person who received the call called her own son to confirm that her grandson was in fact in the U.S.
“If you have doubt as to the validity of a call or situation, you can always contact your local police department before sending any money,” said police Lt. Jeff Haas. “We would rather save you from making a mistake than have to tell you we could not get your money back.”
The call was made Aug. 6 at 9:15 a.m.
A Platteville woman received a similar call last year.
Anyone who receives such calls should contact police or their sheriff’s department.