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Glen Rock, Wyckoff Seniors Tell Phone Scammers To Get Lost

The "grandchild in trouble" phone scam victimizes more people than you might think.
The "grandchild in trouble" phone scam victimizes more people than you might think. Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo

GLEN ROCK/WYCKOFF, N.J. – Not everyone falls for phone scams: Two elderly women – one from Glen Rock, the other from Wyckoff – recently sniffed them out and called police.

The 85-year- old Glen Rock woman told police she got a call from someone claiming to be her granddaughter, saying that she and her father needed bail money after being involved in a car crash.

“This was followed by a call from a man claiming to be a lawyer representing the granddaughter,” Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackermann said. “The woman was aware of the grandparent’s scam and contacted her family in Florida to confirm that they were OK.”

Then she called police.

A little over a week later, a Wyckoff senior reported two scammer calls days apart.

One who claimed to be an attorney “left a message that she was a prize winner and wanted a return call so that she could claim her prize,” Lt. Joseph Soto said.

The second claimed to represent the “Multi State & Lottery Association,” telling her that “she won a prize and wanted to come to her home to deliver the check,” Soto said.

“The caller wanted to know if the resident was alone and offered to send a security guard to accompany her to her bank,” the lieutenant said.

She hung up and called police, he said.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows what phone scammers are up to.

Earlier this month, a Ridgewood woman was conned out of nearly $1,500 by a scammer who used the old PSE&G non-payment threat.

SEE: Ridgewood Resident Conned Out Of $1,460 In PSE&G Phone Scam

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Police constantly warn citizens about phone scammers -- yet many still get taken.

The grandparent scam is one of the most frequent.

“Typically a call will be placed to a grandparent by someone posing as a grandchild who is in trouble,” Wyckoff Police Chief David Murphy said. “The caller will claim that they were in a car accident and have been arrested as a result and in need of bail money.

“The call will come from an unknown number and the caller will claim that their cell phone was lost or damaged in the accident.

“They will claim to be injured or under the influence, providing a reason for not sounding like themselves,” the chief said.

“They will also plead with the grandparent to not advise other family members for fear of embarrassment,” he said. “They will request that the grandparent purchase gift cards usually totaling thousands of dollars.

“Once the cards have been purchased, the scammer will request that the account number on the gift cards and the PIN number be given to them over the phone. Once this information is received, the scammer is able to immediately withdraw the funds from the account.”

If you ever get such a call, contact family members immediately to check on the safety and welfare of your grandchild.

If you have elder loved ones, please talk with them about not getting scammed.

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