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Scammer bilks $1,000 out of concerned grandmother

MADISON, Wis. - A fraudster used a common over-the-phone scam to steal from a west Madison woman last week, police said. 

Madison police said a 77-year-old woman who lives on Kronke Drive received a call Friday morning from someone who said her grandson was in jail and in need of her help. The caller said her grandson fled the scene of a crash and needed bail money. 

The woman followed instructions to buy a $1,000 MoneyCard from Walmart, then provided the card's numbers to the con caller. Police said the woman later realized she had been swindled and reported the fraud to police. 

The scam is a cariation of one in which a caller claims to be a relative, or claims to be an authority demanding money to release the victim's relative.

The FBI said anyone who receives a similar call should resist the pressure to act quickly and try to contact the grandchild or other family member to determine if the call is legitimate. The FBI said not to wire money based on a request made over the phone or via email. 

The scam is also called the grandparent scam, but the FBI said criminals might also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew or another family member.


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