Lincoln County’s seniors are being targeted by a phone scam in which callers claim to be a child or grandchild who has been arrested out of state and need cash to get out of jail.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public to be wary of what it’s calling the “Grandparents or It’s Me” scam.
An 84-year-old man in the eastern part of the county lost $3,000 through the deceit this week, after a female called the home claiming to be his daughter. She said she had been in a wreck, was arrested and needed $3,000 to get out of jail.
The culprit gave the elderly man a telephone number that was allegedly for a law firm in Jacksonville, Florida. The victim called the number and was instructed to go to Walgreen’s and get $3,000 in gift cards and call them back. The cards would be used to get his daughter released, the victim was told.
It was only after following the instructions that the man learned his daughter had not been in jail, officials said.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officials say elderly people who receive such calls should hang up on the caller and check with the relative immediately. The department is also asking local stores and pharmacies to be on the look out for elderly people purchasing gift cards for large sums of money.
“We would request that if someone comes into a business and is seeking to purchase gift cards or a money order for a large amount of money, remind them of the possibility of a scam,” said Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Erin Long.
Victims of the scam are asked to call the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202.