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Police Warn Elderly About "Grandson in Jail" Scam

Seniors targeted by thieves posing as victims' grandchildren and claiming they need bail money.

A scam is hitting area elderly, including Brookfield residents, prompting police to issue a warning Monday.

The con: A caller poses as a would-be victim's grandson, saying he has been arrested in another country and needs money sent via Western Union so he can get out of jail. 

Once money is sent via Western Union, there is no way to get it back, police told a woman who almost became the latest victim.

According to police reports:

An 85-year-old Brookfield woman who lives on North 162nd Street accidentally dialed 911 about 1 p.m. Thursday. She apologized and explained she was trying to dial an international number in Windsor, Canada.

The woman said she received a call from a man who she thought was her grandson. He was crying, saying he was arrested in Windsor on drug charges and needed $2,300 to get out of jail. Another man came on the phone, she said, and identified himself as a bailiff named Mark Brown.

The Brookfield woman said she did as he instructed. She went to Chase Bank in Brookfield, withdrew $2,300 and went to Kmart in Wauwatosa to wire it via Western Union.

When she got home, she received a call saying the transaction was unsuccessful and she should call Western Union to provide a code to ensure proper transmission.

That's when she accidentally dialed 911 and connected with Brookfield police, who told her to stop the transaction. The woman called her real grandson, who was not in Canada nor arrested, and he helped her cancel the wire transfer and pick up her money, reports say.

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