County Officials Warn Residents About 'Granny Scam'

The scenario goes something like this: A senior citizen receives a call from someone who appears to be a grandchild or a relative.

The person at the other end of the line asks for money for an emergency situation. Before the residents knows what's happening, they may have been bilked out of a lot of money.

“This particular scam has been around for many years,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Senior Services. “We want to make sure our seniors are informed and take the appropriate steps should it happen to them.”

Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy said the county 911 system received a call at 11 a.m. on April 1, from a woman attempting to confirm the identity of a caller who said they were from the New York Police Department and that her grandson had been arrested for drunk driving. She said she also spoke to her grandson.

Fortunately,Ocean County Sheriff’s Office was able to stop the 80-year-old woman and her husband, also 80, from wiring $2,000 to a scammer, Mastronardy said.

“We received a call at the Sheriff’s Department 911 system and were able to stop the transaction before it happened,” Mastronardy said. “Not everyone is so lucky and often our elderly residents find themselves victims of this kind of scam.”

Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety, said the people making the call are often convincing to the point they can get names from the victims.

“The best action to take is not send money right away but speak to a friend or family member or attempt to contact the family member who is allegedly in trouble," Kelly said.”

Anyone with suspicions that someone is trying to scam them should call their local police department.

The senior resident said she and her husband have attended events in their community that provide information on scams. But her emotions took over along with her concern for her grandson and they almost sent the money.

She said the scam artist kept calling her husband every few minutes asking if the money had been sent. In addition, the scammer recommended the money be sent in smaller amounts.

The scammer also gave her a false name and phone number and while they said they were from New York, the money would have been wired to Canada.


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