Delaware State Police Financial Crimes detectives are reminding the public to be on alert for phone scammers that have recently been targeting the elderly.
The DSP is investigating several cases in which elderly residents of Sussex County have received calls from someone purporting to be a grandson and claiming to be in Mexico in need of money. The caller often claims the money is needed for bail, due to a car accident, or to purchase an airline ticket to leave the country. The caller usually says he is too embarrassed to call his parents.
Several victims have wired money to Mexico, only to realize their grandson was never in that country. The DSP said these victims have suffered substantial financial losses, often wiring thousands of dollars at a time.
Anyone who receives a call asking for money should verify that the person is actually abroad by calling their parents or another relative. Ask the caller questions only your relative would know and obtain a phone number at which you can call them back. If you feel you must pay for something abroad, attempt to do it with a credit card, instead of wiring the money. This makes it easier to identify the recipient and rescind the payment. Also, if you are skeptical about the caller, talk to a neighbor or friend about the call before sending any money.
The DSP said in these scams, it is very common for the victim to receive continuing calls, asking for more money. Anyone who believes they have been a victim should be very cautious about sending more money, and should contact the police.