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Fairfield woman swindled in bogus call for help

“Grandma, it’s me.”

That’s how, Fairfield police say, the call began.

An elderly woman in the Holland Hill section of Fairfield received a call Friday morning from a man, purporting to be her grandson. He informed her he had gone to Toronto with friends. They got into some trouble, and well, he was sitting in a Canadian jail in need of bail. The grandson begged her not to tell his parents.

At that point, the grandson handed the phone over to an “officer that explained the grandson needed $2,136 to make bail,” Fairfield Police Sgt. James Perez said Saturday.

“The the so-called officer instructed the grandmother to wire the money [through] Western Union.”

The woman contacted one of her children who works at Sikorsky Aircraft and asked him to wire the funds, which he did at 2 p.m. Friday. Two hours later, the son received a call from someone claiming to be a Canadian attorney requesting additional money, this time for providing legal representation to the grandson.

When a family member’s well being is in jeopardy, Perez notes, it’s understandable that grandparents will want to help. But before they open their wallets, he says, they should confirm the true whereabouts of their relatives through other family members.

Furthermore, once money is wired internationally and received at the other end by someone, it is impossible to recoup the money because the wire transfer services do not demand the recipients show any identification.

Connecticut residents reported 2,278 fraud complaints during 2008, the last year statistics are available from the Internet Crime Complaint Center, that cost them a total of $2.1 million.

Six percent of those cases in which consumers were fleeced involved confidence games in which 31 percent of the victims were bilked out of between $1,000 and $4,000. The median dollar loss from all complaints was $695.45 and the top scam involved a Nigerian letter fraud in which the victim lost $135,000.

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January 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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