An Ocean Reef man was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a caller who claimed his grandson was in jail.
The victim, who lives in the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, told Deputy Michael Claudy he received the first call earlier in the week from someone he believed was his grandson. The caller said he was in jail in Atlanta, Georgia.
He then talked with a woman who identified herself as his grandson’s lawyer. She told him his grandson’s bond was $3,300, but they would take $1,300 for it. He was told to send a money gram to an offshore account in the Dominican Republic. He complied with the instructions.
The following day, the woman called back and told him she needed the full amount of the bond or his grandson would not be released. He sent another money gram for $2,000 more.
In a third phone call, she told him her son had injured someone and the injured person wanted medical bills paid. At this point, he realized he had been scammed.
This is a typical scam, which is reported to law enforcement agencies across the country on a regular basis. Someone calls to say a loved one is in jail, or hurt in an accident, or in trouble of some kind and needs money. The callers can be extremely persuasive and they generally insist that time is of the essence, pushing the victim to send the money now without taking the time to call anyone about it.
If you receive such a call, either hang up immediately or take the time to check on the claims being made. In this situation, a call to a family member or even to authorities in Atlanta would have revealed the scam for what it was.