LAFAYETTE -- Grandparents, beware.
The Lafayette Police Department released a warning to community members Thursday that officers had received numerous complaints from residents who said they were being called and advised them that a grandchild has been arrested or injured while visiting Lima, Peru.
The callers say they are a United States government official and are requesting money for bail or for travel funds so the person's grandchild could return to the United States. Residents were then asked to wire money via Western Union to Peru to aid their family member, police said.
Police said residents on Silverado and Silver Bell were a majority of the people contacted Thursday, which may have indicated that the criminals were in the "Silver" address portion of the City.
This is not the first time police have had to deal with what has been called the "grandma scam."
In September, an Alamo woman was phoned and nearly duped by her "grandson" asking for money after he had allegedly hit two people with his car and needed money for legal fees.
The solicitations come over the phone from con artists preying on concerned family members. The crooks impersonate the victim's grandchild and purport to be in a dire situation that only cash will solve.
The scammers often come equipped, too. Police have said criminals use various means to gather information about the victim's family tree and use it in running the con. They often know bits and pieces about their family, as well.
Lafayette police are asking residents to verify the location of their family member before wiring money to any location to ensure that it is a factual request. Residents who are unsure about the validity of a request are invited to contact the police department through the tip line at 94549Tip@gmail.com or through dispatch at 925-284-5010.
Staff writer Rick Hurd contributed to this report. Contact Katie Nelson at 925-945-4780 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.