NEW CANAAN, Conn. – An elderly New Canaan woman was defrauded out of $175,000 by criminals who used the “grandparent scam” to say her granddaughter was in trouble, New Canaan police said Thursday.
The 87-year-old woman was contacted Sept. 6 by a man identifying himself as an attorney who said her granddaughter had been involved in car accident, she told police Wednesday. He said a child was injured, and he would need $75,000 wired to her granddaughter to get her out of jail, the woman told police.
A female could be heard in the background crying hysterically, police said. The New Canaan woman completed a $75,000 wire transfer to Encino, Calif.
The following day, the man called back and told the woman that the child injured in the reported accident had died and that her granddaughter’s bond had increased. The New Canaan resident wired another $100,000 to gain her granddaughter’s release, police said.
A bank employee told the woman that the story sounded like a scam. The woman contacted her granddaughter and found out that she was not involved in an accident and had not been arrested, police said.
New Canaan police were investigating along with the Connecticut Crimes Task Force and the Secret Service.
Police warned residents earlier this week to beware of the grandparent scam, in which people contact older residents and try to get money from them by claiming that a grandchild or younger relative is in trouble.