St. Charles woman scammed out of more than $5K

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles woman recently was scammed out of $5,273 in what police refer to as “The Grandparent Scam,” according to a St. Charles Police Department news release.

Police responded to the woman’s home in the 600 block of Ohio Avenue at 4:15 p.m. Monday to learn she had gotten a telephone call from someone claiming to be her grandson who lived out of state.

The caller reportedly told her he had been in a car crash in Lima, Peru, and was in jail charged with driving under the influence.

The woman agreed his attorney could call her to make arrangements for his release, according to police.

About 10 minutes later, she reportedly got a call from a man who identified himself as her grandson’s attorney. He instructed her to wire $2,823 to Lima, Peru, which she did at Walmart, according to police.

The attorney soon called back and reportedly said the judge had agreed that the other motorist involved in the crash would not pursue criminal or civil charges if her hospital bills were paid. He requested the St. Charles resident wire an additional $2,450.

She did and was reportedly told her grandson would be released soon.

When she didn’t hear from him, she called his house and learned he was not out of the country, according to police.

This is the third Grandparent Scam reported to the St. Charles Police Department in 2012, and in each case the grandson was home, safe and sound.

Similar reports were taken in 2011.

St. Charles police remind citizens to verify calls that claim one of their relatives is in trouble while visiting another country.

If there is doubt, residents should call the police department and speak with an officer before wiring funds out of the country.

Police are encouraging residents to share this information with others to help reduce the number of victims.