The sheriff’s office and police depart each received reports Thursday from residents who said they were contacted by fake grandsons.
In one case, a woman told the Barton County Sheriff’s Office she had received a phone call from "Jason," who claimed to be her grandson and said he was in jail. She was told he needed $2,900 for bond.
That is a common version of a scheme commonly known as the Fake Grandson Scam, Lt. David Bailey at the Great Bend Police Department said. A caller will claim to be a grandchild and will ask for financial help. The caller may say he or she has been arrested in a foreign county, or was in an accident, and needs bond money.
Then they may hand the phone to someone claiming to be an official or an attorney, who will give instructions on how to send the money.
Another woman told the Great Bend Police Office that a subject who claimed to be her grandson called her Thursday at the nursing home. He knew the nickname that her grandson calls her, but it was not him. The intent of this call is unclear, but no money was sent in either case.
Attempts to scam people out of money are common, Bailey said. Earlier in the week, another Great Bend resident reported an attempted phone scam, but said no money was given.
Another woman said she answered a series of yes or no questions over the telephone, but later concluded the call may have been a scam.
Bailey has some advice for people who receive these calls.
Never volunteer names of family members. If the caller says "it’s your grandson," don’t supply a name. Ask the caller what his name is.
Even if the person supplies a name, be wary of unusual requests. The caller may have made a lucky guess, or may have obtained some of your personal information. Hang up and call the family member’s phone number, or his parents. Find out if everyone is all right.
The most important thing is to be cautious when talking to someone on the phone. Don’t give out any information, and don’t send money unless you’re sure of where it’s going.