An 87-year-old Wyckoff woman was scammed out of $6,400 this week after falling victim to the “grandparent scam,” Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox announced this week.
According to police, the woman received a call on Dec. 1 from a man pretending to be her grandson.
“This individual quickly put another person on the phone who claimed to be his lawyer. Their story was that he was under arrest and needed $6,400 to be released on bail,” Fox said.
The woman did not find out the man was not her grandson until after she had mailed a check made out to cash to an address in Philadelphia, cops said.
This incident marks the second in two weeks in which residents were cheated out of a large sum of money by falling victim to a scam. Last week, a township mom lost $4,100 when she wired the money to a phoney online landlord who said he’d use it to secure an apartment for her daughter, police said.
Fox also reported that there have been some recent failed attempts at similar scams reported in the township. One resident this week reported receiving a check for $3,885 and a letter claiming it was an advance on his $250,000 win in an international lottery.
The letter asked him to send his own check in the same amount to an address to pay a “non resident administrative fee,” Fox said.
“The check they mailed is fraudulent and takes many days before he would be notified that the bank rejected it,” Fox said. “Had he immediately mailed his own check in a rush to get his prize, he would have been scammed out of nearly $4,000.”
Fox released the following tips for residents:
- Do not send cash to anyone you don't know
- Do not wire money to anyone you don't know
- Do not pay a “service charge” to collect a million dollar lottery winning
- Do not purchase gift cards and tell anyone on the phone the serial numbers
- Because senior citizens are frequently targets, their adult children should remind their parents not to send money to anyone they don't know without first consulting them
“These scams have existed for years, have been reported extensively both locally and nationally, and they still continue,” Fox said.
“Once again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”