COLONIE — Three elderly town residents were scammed out of more than $20,000 and police are asking the public for help in identifying the perpetrator of what is known as a “Grandparent Scam.”
Over the last week, according to Lt. Robert Winn, police received calls about the scam, which entails the caller convincing the victims their grandchild has been arrested and needs bail money or face incarceration.
One 92-year-old handed over $9,500 on Sept. 18; an 84-year-old handed over $9,000 on Sept. 19 and a 92-year-old gave the scammers $1,000 on Sept. 20. A 93-year-old was asked to hand over $6,500 on Sept. 20, but called a relative who realized it was a scam before any money changed hands.
The caller initially asked for between $6,500 and $10,000, Winn said, to get the grandchild out of trouble. In a new twist on the scam, the caller is helpful in advising the victims in how to get the money, negotiate a lesser amount, offer roundtrip cab rides and personal courier service pick-up of the money.
Usually the money is transferred via pre-paid cards, wire transferred or sent by mail.
The description of the suspects who have picked up the money in the three successful cases are:
- Black male in his 20s, with a thin build standing about 6-foot tall with facial hair and wearing all black
- Black male in his 20s, with a large build standing about 5-foot, 11 inches tall wearing a dark color jacket
There are efforts underway to find usable surveillance images.
The phone numbers the scammers have called from are fake and a quick internet search revealed that they were reported as previously being used for scams.
Police are reminding everyone that unsolicited calls requiring immediate action of a financial nature are usually scams. It is advised callers slow the situation down, ask questions, verify the ID of callers and solicit second opinions from friends or relatives before agreeing to send money.
Anyone with additional information or who was victimized of know anyone how is victimized urged to contact their local police department.