Law enforcement alerts senior citizens about 'grandparents scam'

The "grandparents scam" involves a scammer calling the phone number of a grandparent and impersonating the person's grandchild in order to get money from them.


BEMIDJI — The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office is warning citizens about an uptick in reports of a scam that targets senior citizens in the area, known as the "grandparents scam."

According to a release from Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs, the dispatch center has recently been receiving an increase in reports of this scam, which involves a scammer calling the phone number of a grandparent and impersonating the person's grandchild.

"Frequently these scammers indicate that they have been involved in some type of an accident or need to post bail and need money so they aren’t arrested," the release said. "They say they don’t want their parents to find out and are relying on grandma and grandpa to help them."

With enough convincing and conversation, the scammers gain the trust of the victim and have them transfer money or provide prepaid cards. These transactions are nearly impossible to track, the release said.

If you receive a call similar to this, follow these tips:


  • Have the caller confirm their identity to you.
  • Do not provide them with your personal or financial information.
  • Ensure that any of your social media accounts or publicly accessible information is limited and secure, as scammers can retrieve phone numbers and names of family members through social media pictures and profiles.
  • Call the family member the scammer claims to be on a trusted phone number rather than staying on the phone with the scammer.
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