Gage County authorities are warning of ongoing phone scams making the rounds in Gage County after multiple recent reports of suspicious calls.
A woman called the Gage County Sheriff’s Office to report that her parents, who are Pickrell residents, received a telephone call from someone stating he was their grandson.
The person calling was not their grandson, but told them he was a passenger in a car that was stopped by police and he needed $4,000 in bail.
Believing it was her grandson, the victim went to Walmart in Beatrice and purchased $4,000 worth of gift cards and provided the card numbers to the suspect, according to a press release.
Later that afternoon, they were again contacted by the suspect, who stated he needed another $4,000. At some point during this process, the victim's daughter and the victim's credit card company became aware of the scam and prevented the victims from sending the additional money.
An investigator with the sheriff’s office said this type of scam is commonly referred to as the “Grandma/Grandpa” scam, in which elderly residents receive a telephone call from someone pretending to be the resident's grandchild. The victim often responds with the name of the grandchild they believe is calling.
The suspect then has the grandchild’s name and proceeds to tell a false story about being arrested or needing financial assistance. The scammer then asks for bond or bail money and tells the victim how to send the funds.
In another recent scam attempt, a Clatonia resident called the Sheriff’s Office after she received a telephone call on her house phone from an unknown number. The person left a message stating they were with the IRS and if they did not call her back, a warrant would be issued for her arrest.
The investigator confirmed for the resident that she had received a scam telephone call from people not associated with the IRS or any government agency and there was no warrant issued for her arrest. The victim stated she did not give out any personal, confidential or financial information and has not lost any money to the scam.
Some warning signs of a scam include when someone asks for money in a method outside of normal business or government practices, such as purchasing gift cards, sending funds to a third party, or demanding immediate payment.
Anyone who receives such calls should report it to their local police department or the Gage County Sheriff’s Office and ask to speak with an investigator to determine if their situation is an attempted fraud.