Dodge County Sheriff’s Office Warns Of “Grandparent Scam”

(Juneau) The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office is warning area residents that a scam targeting the elderly population is making the rounds again. Sheriff Dale Schmidt says his office has received multiple reports that the “grandparent scam” is continuing to occur with what he calls (quote) “disparaging consequences” for senior citizens. The scam involves two approaches: one where the scammer imposters the grandchild and acts like they are distraught by crying and another where they impersonate a doctor, police officer, or court officials with information about a grandchild. Schmidt says the scammers will tell a grandparent that the grandchild was arrested while on vacation, injured in a car accident, or in a foreign country or jail. He says the details of the call will alarm the grandparent, who will wholeheartedly believe it is all true. The caller will then ask the grandparent for money that is either needed to pay an attorney, bond to get them out of jail or foreign country. The grandparent is instructed to obtain a certain amount of money or gift cards and to either mail it or wire the money. The imposters will note during the scam that it is imperative the grandparent do not tell the grandchild’s parents. Schmidt says the scammers tend to target those 65 and older because they are usually more trusting, are at home, and more accessible. He says once emotions get involved, and the desperation and urgency in the caller’s voice is heard, grandparents do not think rationally. The sheriff says scammers can make $10,000 a day if they do it properly. Several tips to avoid getting scam include staying calm and ask the caller questions the imposter could not possibly answer, never wire money based on a phone call, and remember hospitals, jails, attorneys, and court systems do not accept gift cards as payments. Schmidt also encourages family members to talk to their grandparents and make them aware of this scam so it does not happen them.