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Sheldon Resident Loses More Than $10,000 In “Grandparent Scam”

Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon resident is out more than $10-thousand after being tricked into falling for the “grandparent scam”, according to Sheldon Police Chief Lyle Bolkema.

Chief Bolkema says a Sheldon resident lost $10,500 in the grandparent scam on April 18th and 19th.  The resident told police he was certain that he had received a call from his grandson, who lives in the eastern part of the state.  The “grandson” told his grandpa that he had been involved in an accident because he was using his cell phone while driving.  He was in jail in the eastern part of the state.  The “grandson” gave instructions on what our resident grandpa could do to help get him out, cautioning him that this needed to stay very confidential and that he was to tell no-one. 

Bolkema says our resident victim drove to Sams’ Club on April 18th with $4500 cash and had the cash loaded onto Sams’ Club gift/money cards, receiving 4-$1000 cards and 1-$500 card.  He had been given instructions to call a number and scratch the backing off the cards to reveal the numbers and he read the scammers  the numbers off of the cards. 

Chief Bolkema says that on April 19th, he was instructed that he needed to send an additional $6000 cash through the same method so he returned to Sam’s Club with the cash in hand and had it loaded onto American Express gift cards.  An alert Sam’s Club employee alerted law enforcement, according to Bolkema, at which time the victim was located and spoken to.  However, the victim had already given the numbers from the back of the cards to the scammers.  The parents of the alleged “grandson” were contacted and it was learned that their grandson was in class and had never been in jail.   The victim lost $10,500 in the scam, money which is gone and will never be recovered. 

According to Chief Bolkema, while the name of the victim is not important, it is important for everyone to know that these scams are running rampant in our communities and people who are normal, intelligent folks are falling for them.    We all need to learn from other peoples’ mistakes because knowledge is power. 

Bolkema offers some points to consider…………………………

-Jails won’t accept money cards/gift cards as payment for bond money

-attorneys won’t accept money cards/gift cards as payment for services provided

-gift cards/money cards are popular among scammers as they cannot be traced.  Once the numbers form these cards are given to someone, the cards’ balance is immediately removed

-anytime someone tries to convince you to do something by keeping information secretive, cautioning you not to contact your relatives or the police, it’s a horrible idea

-your grandchild is most likely not in jail.  If they truly are in jail, that might be just where they belong, says Chief Bolkema.  You, as their grandparents, should be very cautious not to intervene before verifying that information with the police and after talking to the parents of your grandchild.  If your grandchild were truly in jail, contacting their grandparents for money might be one of the last options they would consider because they don’t want you to know that they’re in jail.

-your grandchild was probably not involved in a car accident either.   And, if they were involved in a car accident, their parents would know and you would find out about it from them.  There would be no reason for secrecy.

-Do not trust your ears.  You might not be able to hear as well as you once did.  These scammers are pros at getting you to reveal names of your actual relatives.  All of the people who have fallen for these types of scams were 100% certain that they were talking with their grandkids.  But sadly, they were WRONG. 

-If you’re not sure about something, call the police.   

And lastly, Bolkema Says……….

-DO NOT GIVE YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY TO CRIMINALS.

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