The township issued the following warning to senior citizens in Mahwah Thursday afternoon:
Mayor William Laforet is warning elderly township residents of a con or scam known as the “grandparent scam.” In the past week, the Mahwah Police Department as well as surrounding towns have experienced a rash of “grandparent scam” related incidents.
The typical scam involves a grandparent receiving a telephone call or email from someone claiming to be [his or her] grandchild. Many of the calls will be placed late at night when the grandparents are sleeping and when awoken not thinking clearly.
The phoney grandchild will then inform [his or her] grandparent that [he has] been arrested and needs money quickly to bail [himself] out. In some cases the child will tell the grandparent not to tell his parents because they will [be] upset.
The phoney grandchild will [then] give the phone to an individual who is pretending to be a public defender or attorney representing the grandchild. The scam artists subsequently tell the grandparents to wire money immediately to assist in getting their grandchild out of jail.
Similar scams include a phoney grandchild, doctor, police officer, or some other person calling from a foreign country claiming that [the] grandchild has been injured, mugged and robbed and is in need of money right away.
The scam artists are believed to obtain the grandparents information from internet and social media websites as well as telephone listings, marketing lists and other sources.
If you are contacted, try to resist the urge to act quickly. Ask the caller specific questions that only your grandchild would know, pet’s name, mother’s name, date of birth, etc…
Contact your grandchild or other family members to establish whether the call is legitimate.
Never wire money based on a phone call or email.
Wiring money is the same as providing someone cash; once the money is electronically wired, you can not get it back.
In all cases please contact the Mahwah Police Department and request assistance in determining the authenticity of the call.