Police warn of "Grandmother scam"

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BRIDGEPORT, W.V (WDTV) - Bridgeport police say the "Grandmother scam" has already milked thousands of dollars out of a number of residents in the area.

The scam works like this: A person purporting to be your grandchild calls in need of help. The scammer would pretend to be in trouble of some kind and claims their grandparent is the only one who can help them.

Chief John Walker says his department has already received four complaints just this week. He says people have fallen for the scam, sending thousands of dollars in cash to the person they think is their grandchild.

"We trace the phone as best we can and it comes back to another country, so a lot of this is coming from other countries," Chief Walker explained.

The victims told police that the person on the line either sounded like their grandchild, or in certain cases, was disguising his or her voice with tears. They also reported that the person knew intimate details about their lives.

Chief Walker says in reality, scammers had done research about them on social media. He points to technology as one reason he believes these scams are becoming more sophisticated.

So what are the telltale signs you may be the target of a scam? Chief Walker outlines what to look out for, in the video above.