Criminals are tugging at the heartstrings of Omaha’s elderly with a new wave of grandparent scams, the Omaha Police Department said Tuesday.
Police are investigating at least four recent cases in which residents have been contacted by someone identifying themselves as an attorney representing a family member, a police spokesman said. The caller often requests a large sum of money to clear up a legal problem for a grandson or granddaughter.
The grandparent is told that a courier will come to his or her house to retrieve the money. In at least one case, the scammer used an Uber, the spokesman said.
According to the FBI, from January 2020 to June 2021, its internet crime complaint center received more than 650 reports of potential grandparent scams, resulting in more than $13 million in losses. More than 90 of those victims reported money was picked up from their home, resulting in losses of more than $3.6 million.
Omaha police advise residents to always try to verify with other family members the validity of any claims that a family member is in need of help. People should call 911 immediately when contacted by a suspicious person or if a courier shows up.
Any ride-share driver who suspects suspicious activity is urged to contact police. Police said people should never withdraw or give large amounts of money to unknown individuals whether in person, via a wire transfer, gift cards or any other means.
If people suspect they have been scammed, they are asked to call the Omaha police at 402-444-4877 to file a report. Anyone with information about these scams should contact Omaha Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP, at www.omahacrimestoppers.org or on the P3 Tips mobile app.
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