Carroll County Police Warn of Callers Scamming ‘Grandma’
International scammers are calling elderly people, posing as grandchildren and conning them out of thousands of dollars.
Police say unsuspecting older adults in Carroll County have been receiving phone calls from individuals pretending to be their grandchildren, pleading for money to help them get out of jail.
Capt. Clarence Lust, assistant chief of criminal investigations at the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, said the latest incident occurred Monday and cost a resident of Third Avenue in Sykesville $1,900.
“Normally, they go, ‘Hey grandma or grandpa!’ to whoever answers the phone, who asks, ‘Who’s this?’” Lust said. “And then they say, ‘Well, you guess who it is.’ Whoever they say, it’s ‘Yeah, you’re right.’”
Once the person has taken the bait, the rest of the call is spent convincing the grandparent that their grandchild has been arrested and needs bail money, Lust said.
The scammers request that the money be wired through Western Union. Lust said in another case, a resident reportedly sent $1,500.
The callers, who police suspect are part of a criminal organization that uses a complex call forwarding system, have been traced to places like Mexico and Guatemala.
A total of four cases have resulted in individuals mistakenly sending checks for similar amounts, he said, but residents have received several more calls than that.
The sheriff's department is urging the community’s older residents to exercise caution when a caller identifies themselves as a grandchild.
Grandparents should verify the information by calling him or her back, Lust said.
To report an incident or any other information related to these incidents, call the Carroll County Sheriff's Office at (410) 386-2058.