The Fort Thomas Police Department is reporting a phone scam targeted at the elderly, which has left at least three Fort Thomas residents victimized in recent days.
Known as the "grandparent scam," victims receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be their grandson or granddaughter and that they need money right away for an emergency, such as a broken down vehicle.
According to FTPD Lt. Rich Whitford, the scam is an ongoing national trend that has recently hit the city.
"These people are taking advantage of the elderly, and it is truly awful," Whitford said.
Police are still unsure how the perpetrators are acquiring the phone numbers, and, due to the nature of the scam, say it is difficult to trace the money transfers. In one of the cases that hit Fort Thomas, the caller, claiming to be a stranded grandson, asked the victim to purchase four pre-paid debit cards and read the numbers to him over the phone.
Whitford also reported of another victim, who believed her grandson to be stuck in jail in New Orleans. She transferred what she believed to be bail money down to Louisiana, and never saw that money again.
Whitford recommends that anyone who receives a call like this first verify with other family members the validity of the caller's claim before taking any action.
- Staff report