Beware Grandparent Scam and other common cons

For the Public Safety

From Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller

Palos Park police received another report about of a well-known scam known as the Grandmother Scam or Grandparent Scam.

Police received a report that a Palos Park resident and potential victim received a call from a subject claiming that the potential victim’s grandson was arrested and needed money to get out of jail.

The potential victim lives in the 12300 block of Wolf.

The Grandmother Scam or Grandparent Scam and its variations are common scams. There are a variety of fictitious scenarios that are schemed up with different claimed locations and countries, a variety of reasons why the money is needed, and a variety of amounts.

Anyone having information about this or any other crime may call Palos Park police at 671-3770.

Be alert and be aware of other common scams.

  • Ruse burglary: This offense is committed when a con man spots someone out in their yard. He/she approaches the person and then attempts to distract the person’s attention. During this time a second (or third) person then enters the home while the homeowner is distracted, and steals valuables such as jewelry, cash, etc.

If you’re working in your yard, keep all entry/exit locations to your house locked that are not in your view. If a stranger approaches you and wants to use your phone, tell him/her “no”, but you will make an emergency call for him/her if they desire. Do not let anyone you don’t know into your house. Sometimes con men pose as utility workers. If you are not expecting a utility worker at your house, ask to see identification and call the utility company to verify the identity.

  • Phone Scams: 1. A resident receives a call from an unknown person who requests that the resident call a specific telephone number to obtain information about an unknown relative who has been involved in a serious accident. When the phone number is called, there isn’t anyone on the other end. From that point on, the resident’s phone calls have been forwarded to that number they just called, and a party on the other end of that telephone number can make calls from that number and bill them to the residents telephone account. On one of these incidents the resident’s caller ID displayed “prison” when the initial call was received. Residents should be mindful about the potential for receiving suspicious telephone calls. If in doubt, do not call the number given, and contact the police immediately.

2. A telephone scam has been identified where a person calls a citizen and states he is an employee of a U.S. Court and advises the citizen they have been selected for jury duty. These individuals ask to verify names and Social Security numbers, then ask for credit card numbers. If the request is refused, citizens are then threatened with fines and/or other legal action. The judicial system does not contact people by telephone and ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth, credit card numbers or other personal information. If you receive one of these telephone calls, do not provide any personal or confidential information to these individuals. This is an attempt to steal or to use your identity and is a fraudulent call. You should also report this incident to the Police Department.

  • Email scam: The scam works like this: The recipient receives an official looking email, usually from a financial institution. This email requests the recipient click on a specific link to update their account or it will be closed. This link will lead to another official looking web page that requests they input personal information (Social Security number, date of birth, etc). This is a fraud. If the personal information is entered, the criminals on the other end of the website now have a persons private information and are able to open credit accounts in that individual’s name. Some of the business names used by criminals in this fraud have been Citibank, Bank of America and ebay. The best prevention measure is DO NOT respond to an unsolicited email. Financial institutions report they will not send out emails to account holders to update their information.
  • Lotto scam: A resident receives a formal letter that says they have won a lotto held in Dublin Ireland. The letter goes on to say that entrants in this lotto are residents from North America, Europe and Asia and you are selected as one of the winners. Enclosed in the envelope is an official looking check usually in the amount of $2,000 to $3,000. The letter instructs you to deposit this check into your bank account, and withdraw a slightly lesser sum (to cover fees and taxes) and send this amount to them and you will in turn receive your award which is approximately $114,000. Within a couple of days your bank will contact you to inform you the check is fraudulent. In some cases the victim did withdraw the money and sent it to the letter’s originator who is listed as “Imperial Foundation Lotto.” This is a fraud. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY and do not attempt to deposit this check into your bank account. Residents who receive this or a similar letter should contact the Police Department.

Dan Polk, Palos Park Police Commissioner, on behalf of Project S.T.O.P.I.T. (Scams Target Older People and through awareness we can Intercept Thieves.)