PD Returns $85K To Mahwah Victims Of ‘Grandparent Scam’
Residents wired over $100,000 after a scammer pretending to be their grandchild in trouble called their house, police say
Mahwah residents who were scammed into wiring over $100,000 overseas, thinking it was going to their grandchild, are going to get a good portion of that money back.
According to Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli, several township residents reported receiving calls from people claiming to be their grandchildren in trouble, and in need of money to get out of it. The scam often includes someone pretending to be an attorney working on behalf of the grandchild.
One resident reported falling for the scam and wiring over $100K to a specified location after receiving a phoney call, Batelli said.
After an investigation into the fraud calls, Mahwah police have frozen $85,000 of the money at a Western Union location in Mexico. “It is expected that the $85,000 will be returned to the individual’s account within a few days,” Batelli said Tuesday evening.
The return of the money, which Batelli said happens “extremely [rarely]” in these types of cases, was thanks to the “quick notification” of the incident by the residents, and the “excellent police work by Detective Guido Bussinelli and members of the Mahwah Police Investigative Bureau.”
Batelli called the nicknamed grandparent scam “very complex. Although most people believe they wouldn't fall for it, the scammers are very good at what they do. The people committing these frauds always do their homework on the individual and family members who they call, most likely getting their information through social media and the internet. For every question or objection that is raised they have a set answer,” Batelli said.
Though Batelli said it is “nearly impossible” to trace where the call originated from, which may have been on a disposable cell phone from a foreign country, the PD is “pleased” that a large chunk of the money was recovered for the residents.