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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

crime & courts

Old phone scam resurfaces in Bloomington

Indiana State Police said an old phone scam has resurfaced in Bloomington.
State troopers received information earlier this week from an elderly woman who was scammed by someone pretending to be her grandson stuck in Mexico and in need of money, according to a press release.

The woman received a call from someone claiming to be a representative of the American Consulate in Mexico, who then passed the phone to a young man claiming to be her grandson who was in trouble and needed her help.

The connection was bad, and the victim told police she could not confirm whether it was her grandson, according to the press release. The professed grandson begged her to send him $1,200 through Western Union.

The person claiming to be with the consulate told the woman her grandson was caught with marijuana while on spring break in Mexico. The woman wired the money to the address given to her and then received another call requesting $50,000 for attorney fees.

The ISP are calling this an age-old scam because it is nothing new, ISP Sgt. Curt Durnil said. It is common for these types of scams to occur during spring break and
holidays.

Similar scams include a caller claiming you won prize money as well as hang-up calls. Bloomington police received a report earlier this year of a hang-up scam, which involves a caller hanging up before the receiver can answer. When the person calls the missed number their phone gets charged by an unknown party.

“Just because your phone is ringing doesn’t mean you have to answer,” Durnil said. “We ask people to be careful before calling back. You can Google numbers before
calling.”

The ISP has referred Monday’s phone scam case to the FBI because the call came from outside the country.

“When people post where they are on social media, that information is very easily obtained by other people looking to take advantage of you,” Durnil said. “You really make yourself vulnerable when you post where and when you’re going somewhere.”

Once a scammer has received money from the victim, they usually call back a second time for more money, according to the press release. ISP advises people to always verify identities and situations before sending money.

Anyone with information can contact ISP Sgt. Curt Durnil at 812-332-4411 or the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.

Dennis Barbosa

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