Even with ongoing media notifications and community alerts by crime prevention officials to residents throughout the county, the "Grandparent" scam continues to victimize our seniors. Suspects are generally calling from locations all over the world. Please share this information with seniors in your family or those under your care. Social networking sites are the most likely source for suspects to gain knowledge of family members which lends believability when conversing with victims.
On January 28, 2013, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies met with a female victim at her Prescott area home regarding this scam. The victim told deputies that a few days prior she received a phone call from someone who identified himself by name as her grandson. She noted that the voice also sounded like her grandson. Her "grandson" explained that he was arrested while on spring break and needed bail money. Another voice then came on the phone with instructions to secure her "grandson's" release. This man identified himself as William Reid and explained that he was part of the court system in the nation of Trinidad and Tobago (an island off the coast of Venezuela) and directed her to wire $1505 to a specific address in his country.
The victim went to a local pharmacy and wired the money as instructed via MoneyGram. She also obtained a PIN code for the transfer which she later gave to the suspect. This PIN would allow suspects to access money remotely from anywhere. The phone number provided by the suspect indicated an account based in Canada.
The following day, the suspect called again and asked her to re-send the $1505 due to a mix-up in court paperwork. She was told the original amount would be refunded very soon. She went to the MoneyGram kiosk at her nearby pharmacy, sent another $1505, and called the suspect to report the PIN. The victim did acknowledge hearing pre-recorded message provided by MoneyGram on both occasions which warn users about wire fraud. The victim had also supplied her birthdate and SSN to the suspect during phone conversations. The victim eventually discovered the scam after determining her grandson was ok. Deputies directed her to place a fraud alert on her credit report immediately.
During follow-up by deputies with MoneyGram, they learned that both transfers were picked up in Trinidad and Tobago.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov