PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is warning residents after they identified an increase in a "Grandparent Scam" targeting elderly citizens throughout the county.
Detectives say scammers are targeting the elderly and posing as their grandchildren in an attempt to get cash from the victim.
The Sheriff's Office says the scam has been on the rise since January 2019.
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Detectives say the victims are contacted by the suspect who is pretending to be one of their grandchildren. In some instances, the suspect may tell the victim that their grandchild is injured and is being taken to the hospital or that their grandchild has been arrested and bond money is needed. The suspect then asks the victim to hide cash in a magazine and then send the cash through the mail and tells them not to call any family members or law enforcement to verify the information.
Detectives say the victims eventually learn their grandchild was never injured or arrested and the cash that has been picked up is untraceable. The Sheriff's Office says there have been at least nine victims in Pinellas County targeted by this scam since the beginning of the year.
Detectives are warning citizens and telling them to verify the status of their grandchild with other family members before providing the cash.
Anyone with information on this scam is asked to call Corporal K. Frazho at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.