MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Madison police are reporting an increase in scams targeting elderly victims, most recently where the scammer will send someone to collect the money.
In an incident report Wednesday, the Madison Police Department explained that these scams, sometimes called “grandparent scams”, usually begin when the victim receives a call from someone posing as their grandchild or loved one.
The scammer will look panicked and may ask for help, claiming he was in a car accident or is in trouble. MPD said the caller will then ask for money and tell the victim to deliver it without telling anyone what he is doing.
MPD said he recently noticed the caller will say he’s sending “courier” to get the money.
The scam callers also asked for bank or credit card information, or will ask the victim to go to a Bitcoin ATM to complete the transaction.
MPD urged the community to stay aware of these potential scams and offered these tips (worded according to their own):
- If you receive a phone call from a number you don’t know and the person on the other end claims to be a relative, you can hang up and try to reach that relative at a known phone number. This break can save you the headache of being scammed!
- If someone claims to be in trouble with the law or in a prison, ask them what prison or facility they are in. Then make a phone call to check if this is the case by contacting that prison/law enforcement agency directly!
- If someone asks you to perform a financial transaction at a Bitcoin ATM or other similar ATM, and it is out of the ordinary, stop and verify all information before doing so. Call the person you think is asking for money and make sure you know the implications of such dealings.
- Remember that no government official will ask you to pay fines or fees with gift cards from Amazon, Target, or any other store. If you have been asked to purchase these items, do not read the card codes to anyone over the phone.
- Don’t give out personally identifying information, such as a bank account number or social security number, to anyone or to a website you don’t know and trust.
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