Man loses $4K in grandparent scam

PENN TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.–Thinking his grandson was in trouble, a Lancaster County man was duped out of $4,000 in a grandparent scam.

On Tuesday, Northern Lancaster County Regional Police say the man received a phone call from a man posing as his grandson. The victim told police the scammer sounded a lot like his grandson, so he didn’t think anything of it.

The person on the other end of the line told the victim a tale about being taken to jail following a car crash.  The victim was instructed to go to Target where he was to  buy four gift cards and then load $1,000 onto each of the cards.

The victim  complied and provided the card numbers to the man. But when the person demanded more money, that’s when the victim realized he had been scammed.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the so-called “grandparent scam,” or the “family emergency scam” preys on a person’s emotions. The scammer’s goal is to trick you into sending money before you realize it’s a scam.

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
  • Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.