Press release from Dan Watson, Chief of Police, Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
An elderly Mammoth Lakes resident was recently the victim of a fraud when she received a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson. The suspect said he’d been involved in a traffic collision in Lima, Peru and needed funds wired to him to pay for the damage.
The victim received two phone calls and he had enough specific knowledge for her to believe it was actually her grandson even though she had no idea why he would be in Peru instead of Oregon where he is a college student.
After sending the money requested via Western Union, the victim checked with other family members and learned that her grandson was in Oregon, not Peru.
The Internet has provided more opportunities from criminals to perpetrate scams. Social Media sites such as Facebook provide a lot of information that is available to anyone.
It’s not difficult for a criminal to access someone’s Facebook page and learn about someone’s family and friends, thereby providing specific information they can use to convince a potential victim to send money.
Below is a Consumer Alert from the Federal Trade Commission PDF link that provides some good tips to help people protect themselves from being victimized by scammers. The most important tip to remember is to verify any unusual request from someone claiming to be a friend or relative in need.