Scam alert: Crooks targeting loving grandparents who want to help

Scam alert: Crooks targeting loving grandparents who want to help »Play Video
File photo.

DAMASCUS, Ore. - Crooks are posing as grandchildren to convince elderly people to send them money.

We talked to a Damascus couple who had it happen to them. They didn't want to show their faces or give their names but they want to get the message out about the scam.

They told us they got a phone call from a person who sounded just like their grandson. The man told them he was in trouble - he had been arrested in Peru - and needed cash. To make the scam even more convincing, the con artist called the elderly man 'Papa,' which is a name he goes by.

The couple wired $3,500 to the caller via Western Union and only later found out that they had been duped. Two weeks ago, we talked to a Canby couple who had the same thing happen to them.

Police say they can't do much about it because the crooks tend to live overseas. However, there are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Check with your family first to make sure there really is an emergency before wiring money.
  • Come up with a code word so you know it's really your relative on the phone.
  • Remember that sites like Facebook have a lot of personal information. That may be how the man knew to say 'Papa' to gain his victim's trust.