The Ocean City Police Department is warning citizens about a current telephone scam targeting grandparents, parents and family members.  The scam, which is fairly common, has several variations, but in the end involves a loved one who is in trouble and needs help getting out of an embarrassing or harmful situation. 

Typically, the scammer will call the victim and claim to be their grandchild, child, niece or nephew, depending on what level of information they have on the family.  The scammer will tell the family member that they are in trouble, indicating that they have been arrested and are in jail, and need help.  In some cases, another scammer will interact with the victim via telephone, claiming to be a lawyer, a bail bondsman, a deputy or an official from a jail to further convince the victim the scam is legitimate. The scammer will then request money, sent to aWestern Unionoffice out of the area, in order to get them out of jail or whatever harmful situation the scam presents. 

Ocean City Police have learned that scammers are accessing family knowledge, usually gained from the Internet, to make the scam more convincing.  In addition, unlike most scams, the scammer does not have a foreign accident but often doesn’t resemble the voice of their family member.  Often times, the scammers will blame the phone line or an illness that is making them sound different on the phone.

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens to never wire money to strangers or someone you haven’t met in person. Requests to wire money overseas or toCanadaare “red flag” signs that it’s a fraud.  If you get a call like this, contact another family member, a trusted friend or your local police department.  They can help you evaluate the situation and try to contact your loved one.