Grandparent Scam on the Rise

The Lee County Sheriff's Office has had several “Grandchild in Jail” scams reported over the past few months. Here's what you need to know should you receive one of these suspicious phone calls:

In this scam, the suspect contacts the victim posing as a grandchild or the grandchild's attorney and claims your grandchild (with name) has been in a crash where he/she was driving under the influence of alcohol. The suspect then instructs you not to tell your grandchild’s parents of the incident and requests bond money to prevent them from going to jail.  Once the con-artist convinces you of the story, they will send a courier to your home to pick up the money. The courier is typically, but not always a ride sharing company that is hired by the suspect to pick up a “package” and deliver it to a new location.

 How can you keep from becoming a victim of the grandparent scam?

  • Do not answer unknown phone numbers.
  • Do not send cash or gift cards to someone you do not know.
  • Attempt to contact the grandchild or family member who is allegedly in jail.
  • Ask the suspect questions only a real family member would know.
  • Secure all social media profile to "friends only" access since criminals can use this personal information to answer certain questions about your family.

If you think you have been a victim of this scam, please contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 239-258-3292 or contact your local law enforcement agency.

For more information about this Safety & Security Tip or to have a Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Specialist speak to your organization about Frauds and Scams, please contact the Community Response Unit at 477-1CRU.