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Benicia Police Department
Wednesday April 24th, 2013 :: 02:19 p.m. PDT
Community

Benicia Police warn of potential phone scam targeting the elderly.

This press release is being produced as a public service and crime prevention tool to urge residents to take additional measures to not be victimized by callers requesting money for family members in legal trouble.

On 04/23/2013, the Benicia Police Department responded to a report of a possible money transfer scam that had occurred the day before. It was learned that at an elderly Benicia couple had received a telephone call from a subject identifying himself as their grandson. The male subject who identified himself as their grandson informed them he had been arrested in the Philippines and needed money to bail out of jail. He stated he was involved in an accident and was being held for DUI. He told them that the money was to be sent via Western Union. The grandfather stated that the subject on the telephone sounded like his grandson. The male subject on the telephone told the elderly couple that they would be getting a call from his lawyer and to do what he asked them to do. Approximately fifteen minutes later, they received a call from a male subject identifying himself as their grandson’s attorney. He informed them they needed to send $2,500 in two separate transactions so the Philippine Government would not suspect the transactions to be drug related. The elderly couple went to a local Western Union and sent the money. On the morning of 04/23, the elderly couple received another telephone call from the alleged attorney informing them their grandson had been released on bail, but that he could not be released as a victim had come forward claiming he was responsible for injuries she had received in the accident. This subject stated for another $4,200 he could get their grandson released. They once again agreed to send the money. However this time, the grandmother called her grandson on his cellphone and learned they he was in the United States and had not been in the Philippines. The elderly couple was able to cancel the money transfers and it appears that they did not suffer a loss. While the police officer investigating this incident was at the elderly couple’s residence, the suspect again called back. Upon speaking to the police officer, the subject hung up. The caller had been calling from a blocked telephone number.

All citizens need to be aware of these types of financial scams. Prior to sending any money, make attempts to contact the person they indicated is in need of the money. Get a call back telephone number and attempt to call it back to confirm it is in fact a real number. Obtain as much information as possible to confirm that your family member is truly the one in need of assistance. Notify your local law enforcement agency if you suspect you are being taken advantage of.

For further information regarding this release, contact Lt. Frank Hartig at fhartig@ci.benicia.ca.us or at 746-4259.

Address/Location
Benicia Police Department
200 East L Street
Benicia, CA 94510

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-745-3411

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