BY BILL DEMAREST
CONGERS – A con artist using a common telephone scam that preys on the concern grandparents have for their grandchildren has stolen $1,500 from a 79-year-old Congers resident.
Clarkstown police said today the public should be aware of the scam – and others like it – that particularly target senior citizens.
In this case, the Congers resident received a call on Friday from a person who was crying and identified himself as a grandson. The caller spoke only briefly, saying he was in jail. Next, a second person continues the conversation, identifying himself as a sergeant with an upstate New York police department.
The supposed police sergeant told the victim the grandson would remain in jail unless $1,500 was sent by Money Gram to the department’s bail bondsman, located in Atlanta, GA. The victim was instructed to go to the Walmart store in Airmont to make the transaction.
The victim followed the instructions and called the “sergeant” back to give him the MoneyGram reference number needed to cash in the $1,500 payment. But the scam did not end there.
Clarkstown police say the victim was called again by the “sergeant,” who then said charges against the grandson had been upgraded and additional money would be needed to get him out of jail. At this point, police said, the victim became suspicious and began calling police agencies in an effort to confirm the statements of the callers.
However, the victim could not confirm any of the information or that the “sergeant” was even a police employee. The victim was also to reach the real grandson by cell phone and found out that he was just fine – and not in any trouble with the police.
But the grandmother was out the $1,500 because of the wire transaction – which is as good as cash.
Clarktown police warn that anyone who receives a call from someone demanding money should be skeptical. Similar scams seek payment for utility bills or for fees for supposed lottery winnings. If you think you are being scammed, call the police for help. In Clarkstown, call 845-639-5800. In Orangetown, 845-359-3700.