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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Valley woman loses $3,000 in classic scam

Law enforcement is again warning of a swindle known as the grandparents scam after a 77-year-old Spokane County woman sent $3,000 to a con man claiming to be her grandson.

The woman sent the money to Kent, England on Wednesday after receiving a call from someone she thought was her grandson, who said he had been arrested at the Canadian border after a friend was caught with drugs, and he needed money for bail.

"The woman questioned the money going to England, but the “grandson” convinced her that was the way Canadian authorities posted bail," according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

When he man called again on Thursday requesting she sent $2,500 to Niagara Falls, employees at Western Union persuaded her not to comply.

The woman learned of the scam after calling her grandson.

"Elderly victims are frequently targeted by this type of fraud and may become known to the suspect through published obituaries that list surviving relatives, according to the Sheriff's Office. "Spokane County sees three or four of these scams that are successful every year."

Last fall, a similar scam bilked a Spokane woman out of $17,000.

And last month, Walmart employees stopped a woman from sending $4,200 to a supposed lawyer in Canada.

Anyone with an elderly relative should warn them of the scam.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.