Grandparent scam calls on island residents
A new telephone scam has reared its ugly head in Island County.
Island County Sheriff Office (ICSO) has received complaints of fraudulent callers who know certain intimate details about the person they are phoning.
"I'm a little concerned," said ICSO Sergeant Brian Legasse. "These guys know names and relations."
It may be possible that the scammers have access to school yearbooks or have social networking information, he said.
According to Legasse, scammers have telephoned several Camano Island residents and claimed to be their grandson.
The caller then says he has been in an accident somewhere in Canada and needs money for car repairs or to return home, he said.
"They should tell the person that they are not going to cooperate, hang up and call 911," said Legasse.
Washington state Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Kristin Alexander said the grandparent scam is something the Attorney General's Office is aware of and has issued warnings about for several years.
"If you get a call like this, ask for personal information," said Alexander. "If the caller can't provide the grandchild's middle name or birth date, you'll quickly know something's fishy."
Alexander said people should also do whatever is necessary to confirm the real relative's whereabouts.
"Don't send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble," she said.
"If a caller asks for your bank account number or urges you to send money via Western Union or Money- Gram for any reason, that's a good indication of a scam."
Con artists prefer wire transfers because they are fast, there are transfer agents in most communities and funds can be picked up in multiple locations, said Alexander.
For more information, visit www.atg.wa.gov.
Reporter Rick Wood: 629- 8066 ext. 104 or rwood@scnews. com.