February 12, 2013 09:30The Portland Police Bureau would like to make community members aware of two incidents of a "grandchild scam" that occurred in Portland in late January.
On January 18 and January 22, 2013, two Portland residents received calls from someone claiming that their grandchildren had been arrested and were in foreign jails.
In one case, the victim spoke to a young woman claiming to be her granddaughter and that she was currently in a British Columbia jail. The victim then spoke a man claiming to be a law enforcement officer who told the victim that in order to have her granddaughter released, she would need to wire $3,400 dollars to an address in Bolivia. The victim wired the money and was back at the bank to wire an additional $2,500 when the bank called police to check on the situation.
In the other case, the victim received a similar call, this time describing her grandson as being in jail in Port Au Prince, Haiti. In this case, the victim wired $2,652 to Haiti. The victim then received another call the next day saying that the charges had been dropped, and she would need to wire another $1,600 to Haiti for attorney's fees. At this point the victim contacted her grandson's mother who said the boy was in school and most definitely not in Haiti.
In both cases, the scammers had very personal information about both kids, including names and personal information, making their pitch very believable.
The Portland Police Bureau would like to alert community members to this scam and provide a link to the U.S. State Department website explaining the scam and providing resources and information: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/financial_scams/financial_scams_5608.html
Sgt. Pete Simpson