HINGHAM, Mass. — Residents in a South Shore town are being warned after an elderly woman was scammed out of thousands of dollars on Tuesday.
Hingham Police say the 87-year-old resident fell victim to the common “Grandparent Scam,” where the scammers pray on elderly victims, saying their grandchild is in danger.
The victim received a call from an unfamiliar phone number where the caller explained the victim’s grandson had been in a crash in Vermont and a pregnant woman was injured, according to authorities. As these cases typically go, the scammer told the victim her grandson had been arrested and she needed to call his lawyer to get him bail money.
The unsuspecting victim then called the phone number the scam caller had given, according to police, and the “lawyer” explained the bail was set at $26,000 cash. The scammer also explained the judge placed a gag order on the case so she wasn’t allowed to talk about what happened to anyone.
Authorities say the victim went to her local bank and withdrew the $26,000, placed the money in a box, and a representative from a “bail bondsman company” arrived at her home at 6:00 p.m. to collect the box of money.
The scammer who picked up the money was a black woman, driving a black car and was dressed in black clothing, according to officials. The victim described the woman as “appearing to be possibly in a law enforcement capacity” but did not see a badge or full uniform.
Police say although this scam has happened in Hingham before, this is the first time the scammers actually came to the victim’s home to pick up the cash.
The public is being asked to stay vigilant and to talk about this scam with older persons or grandparents.
Hingham authorities are also sharing some tips:
- If you don’t recognize and phone number, don’t answer. If it’s important, they will leave a message. This allows you time to verify who called you.
- The scammers try to not have you call anyone to verify that the grandchild is actually at home, work or school and not arrested.
- This scam usually involved withdrawing cash and wiring it to the “lawyer” or buying gift cards. They then ask you to send pictures of the card numbers or reading them on the phone to the pay the bail.
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