The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public to be wary of the so-called “grandparent scam” and similar phone scams after an 82-year-old Arroyo Grande man was hospitalized briefly Tuesday after receiving such a telephone call.
No money was lost, but the incident upset the elderly victim and caused a spike in blood pressure that resulted with him being treated at a local hospital, according to the Sheriff's Department.
The unidentified victim received a phone call from a man identifying himself as the victim’s grandson, using the correct name of the victim’s actual grandson.
The caller said a “public defender” would call back shortly. About 20 minutes later, the man got a second call from a man who introduced himself as “public defender Richard Stern.” He instructed the victim to wire $2,500 in supposed bail money to a bank account in Beirut, Lebanon, to cover the cost of damage his grandson had supposedly caused in a traffic collision.
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The victim became suspicious and called the Sheriff’s Department. The callers’ phone numbers were traced to cell phones with Quebec, Canada, area codes.