Crime & Courts

‘Crying girl’ phone scam costs one Lincoln resident $5,000

Lincoln County authorities are warning the public about a telephone-based scam that cost one county resident money in recent days.

It was the second such case in recent months, according to the sheriff’s office.

The most recent case took place April 7, investigators said. A woman reported receiving a call around noon that day from a female who seemed to be crying.

The Lincoln County woman asked who was calling, and the caller said it was the woman’s granddaughter, who is attending college out of state. The caller said she had been out with friends, and police had found marijuana in their vehicle. She told the woman she and another person had been arrested.

The caller said she needed $5,000 to post bond, according to the sheriff’s office. A man then got on the phone, according to investigators, and told the Lincoln County woman that the money should be sent to an address in Vandalia, Ohio, and that the woman should not tell anyone because the case was confidential.

Deputies said the Lincoln County woman then took $5,000 in cash and mailed it from a store on N.C. 16 in Denver to the Ohio address.

According to investigators, the woman then told a relative about the situation, and the relative contacted the granddaughter in New Jersey, only to learn that the college student was not in trouble.

The sheriff’s office said the U.S. Postal Service searched the Ohio residence earlier this week. According to investigators, the person at the Ohio location was a “middle man,” and most of the money was being sent to a location in Canada, where the phone calls also originated from.

Lincoln County investigators said they received a similar complaint from a resident in February, about sending $2,500 to the address in Ohio to help get a granddaughter out of jail.

The sheriff’s office said residents who receive such a call should find the jail’s main phone number and call back, to make sure it is not a hoax.