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 February 15th, 2012  
St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara warns senior citizens not to fall for the "grandparent scam"
When you get a phone call or e-mail from someone claiming to be your son, daughter or grandchild in need of quick cash, the caller may be a scam artist, warns St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"We call this the 'grandparent telephone scam' because it often is aimed at an unsuspecting senior citizen," Sheriff Mascara said. "The caller may claim to be a child or grandchild stranded in a foreign country and his or her wallet has been stolen. The caller tries to get the victim to wire cash to help the caller get out of a jam."

The Sheriff said crime prevention deputies have recently received information from area bankers reporting that people on the Treasure Coast may have received "grandparent scam" phone calls.

Sheriff Mascara said it's natural to want to help a child or grandchild, but he cautions people to take simple steps to avoid being victimized.

"First, check to confirm that the request is legitimate before you send money," Sheriff Mascara said. "Question the caller with information that an imposter wouldn't know such as family historical information, the name of a parent, a family pet's name, date of mother's birthday or something similar."

Also, the Sheriff advises recipients of such phone calls to contact the person directly. If you can't reach the person, contact a friend or relative of the person.

Do not send money unless you confirm the identity of the caller.

If you're in doubt, the Sheriff asks people to call the Crime Prevention Unit, at 871-5303. * * *

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