Scammed Atascadero grandfather gets $55,000 back
October 2, 2015
An 84-year-old Atascadero man who lost $55,000 to a grandfather scam got his money back with the help of a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s detective.
On July 2, a man claiming to be an attorney representing the victim’s grandson called the elderly Atascadero resident. The man said the grandson had been in a car accident and needed $5,000 for bail.
The victim did the right thing before sending the money, a sheriff’s office press release states. He tried contacting his grandson to confirm the story.
But, the Atascadero man was not able to reach his grandson. He then went online to look into his grandson’s alleged attorney and found a lawyer whose name matched the person the caller was claiming to be.
The victim placed $5,000 in a bank account given to him by the caller.
After the transaction took place, the scammer called again and told the victim that a law enforcement officer was involved in his grandson’s car accident and the officer died from his injuries.
The scammer told the victim to deposit $50,000 in a different bank account in order to keep his grandson out of trouble. The Atascadero man then deposited $50,000 in the account.
Soon after, the grandson called and said he had not been involved in an accident. The victim contacted the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff’s Detective David Marquez managed to trace the bank accounts to Las Vegas and Texas. Marquez succeeded in convincing the banks to place holds on the deposited money.
As a result, Marquez returned all $55,000 to the victim.
The sheriff’s office news release warns grandparents to never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email. Also, verify the caller’s identity by contacting your grandchild or another family member, the sheriff’s office says.
Likewise, be suspicious if you are told not to contact law enforcement and resist the pressure to act quickly, the press release states.