The Columbia Police Department received a report in reference to a phone wire transfer scam Nov. 30. The victim said a man claimed to be her grandson and stated that he was in a Mexico City jail.
The man asked the victim to send him a large amount of money via wire transfer, providing the woman with an address in which to send the money. The victim made numerous attempts to call her real grandson, leery of the wire transfer and the suspect's story.
Unable to reach her grandson, the woman called the Columbia Police Department. An officer there was able to contact the real grandson, who confirmed that he was not in a Mexico City jail.
The victim of the scam did not send any money to the culprits.
A wire transfer is not a form of currency that is protected under any insurance. Once any money is sent via a wire transfer it is nonrefundable.
CPD warned in a news release to "never send money or give out personal information to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons." If you are suspicious of a scam, call the number back and see if a recording or anyone states the name of the company. If no name is disclosed, red flags should go up that it is not a legitimate business.
According to the news release, the victim made the right decision when she called her grandson to verify if he was in jail. Be skeptical when making monetary decisions, and be aware that legitimate companies will never pressure anyone to make a sudden decision, the release stated.
There was a scam identical to this case reported back in April of 2011.
"The male victim (in 2011) sent money through Western Union," CPD spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said. "When we hear about these scams, we take a report and we put out a press release as to what the scam is about and how to prevent yourself from becoming another victim."