Phone scam touches St. Mary Parish
St. Mary Parish has been experiencing a couple different phone call scams recently where callers try to extort money out of people by claiming a family member is in trouble, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Victims of the scams were contacted on their cell phones and told that one of their family members was being held for ransom. The perpetrator, a male subject with a foreign accent, creates a sense of urgency over the phone by making threats against the family member’s life and/or stating that the family member was involved in a car crash, the release stated.
The phone call scams in the area are not just limited to the ones described in the news release. The main point the sheriff’s office is trying to convey to the public is that “the scams can take on any form,” said Traci Landry, sheriff’s office public information officer. “(Callers) try to create a sense of urgency by telling them their loved one is in trouble,” Landry said.
One incident was reported where a local woman received a call from a caller claiming to be the woman’s grandson and said he was in trouble and was in jail in Peru.
Another caller then got on the phone and said he needed $2,800 in cash to keep her grandson from having a criminal record, and told her she had to send a money gram to an address in Lima, Peru.
The caller claiming to be her grandson told her he had gone to Peru with a friend, he had gotten drunk, had broken some lights, was arrested and needed money to get out of jail.
However, the caller claiming to be the woman’s grandson didn’t really sound like her grandson, but she was ready to send the money if it was her grandson, she said. The woman said she was told she had to go to a certain place to get the money and go put it in a mailbox. She eventually found out that her grandson was in Thibodaux and not in Peru and that the caller was not her grandson.
Later that day, she got another phone call. The caller said he had not gotten his money yet. She told the caller that her grandson was safe in Thibodaux. When she told the caller that, he slammed down the phone, she said. She thinks the call originated from Canada.
According to the sheriff’s office, a quick Internet search reveals that these calls are occurring nationwide. These calls are one of the latest incarnations of phone scams created to attempt to steal your money.
The sheriff’s office offered the following advice regarding scams:
—Remember, scams come in all shapes and sizes. Be alert and never hesitate to call authorities.
—If you suspect that a scammer is targeting you, contact your local law enforcement agency.
The sheriff’s office may be reached at 985-384-1622 or 337-828-1960.
In addition to alerting the local authorities, scams may also be reported online at www.ic3.org. The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.