CRANFORD - The Cranford Police Department is cautioning the community of a noticeable trend in “Grandparent” scams across the state.

According to the release, in a typical “Grandparent” scam, a con artist calls or emails the victim posing as a relative in distress or someone claiming to represent the relative, such as a lawyer or law enforcement agent. The "relative" of the grandparent explains he or she is in trouble and needs their grandparent to wire them funds that will be used for bail money, lawyer’s fees, hospital bills, or another fictitious expense. In some cases, the con artist will even pick up cash from the victim’s home.

The victim is urged not to tell anyone, such as the parent of the “grandchild” because they do not want them to find out about the trouble, they've gotten themselves into. The grandparent never hears from their fake grandchild again and is tricked out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

To detect and avoid the “Grandparent” scam, the department recommends the following tips:

  • Beware of any urgent solicitation of funds, especially if it is needed to pay for unexpected bills, such as bail money, lawyer’s fees, or doctor bills
  • Before sending funds, independently contact the relative (or parent of the relative) the scam artist is claiming to be (or represent) at a known phone number to verify the details of the story.
  • Scam artist’s payment method of choice are the wire transfer, cash, or gift cards. Any urgent requests for money should be treated suspiciously.
  • Be aware that fraudsters attempting the “Grandparent” scam may call late at night to confuse potential victims.
  • Victims of this scam should immediately report it to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission at