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Police Warn of 'Grandchild' Scam

After an 84-year-old Greenwich resident was taken advantage of by a man pretending to be his grandson, police are urging residents to be wary of fraud and to keep cell phone passwords protected.

"Scams wherein the perpetrator takes advantage of the trusting nature of an elderly grandparent are not new and are very common," said Officer John King of the special victims section of the Greenwich Police Department.

The victim was contacted Nov. 4 by a person claiming to be his grandson, a college student in New Hampshire. He told the elderly man he had been involved in a car accident and had damaged cars, including one that belonged to a tourist from another country. He asked the victim to wire him money to cover the damages and asked that he not tell his parents.

Unfortunately, the grandfather sent money. The perpetrator asked for more money a second time and the grandfather complied. When he received a third call, the Greenwich man became suspicious and called police, then called his grandson, who said he had no knowledge of a car accident.

Lt. Kraig Gray, spokesman for the department, said police believe the perpetrator was able to get information from a cell phone. King suggested the phone may have been lost or stolen. "Using the 'password' function of your cell phone can aid in preventing personal information from being compromised," said King.

Police suggest that anyone receiving a similar phone call contact family members directly to verify the caller's claims before sending money. Related questions should be directed to the special victims section at (203) 622-8030.

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