Scammers Call and Want Money for a Family Member in Jail


Scammers generally call seniors, pretending to be a grandson who needs money to get out of jail.

A friend and an Optimist Club member sent me the following note: you may know about this ‘scam and you may want to use it in one of your editions.”

He explained that he received a call (his third over the last two months) from someone claiming to be his grandson.

“Hi grandpa, it’s me…your oldest grandson. I’m sorry I don’t sound like I usually do, because I was in a car accident and hit another car and broke my nose.”

“I was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and I’m in jail. However, I can be released….with the help of an attorney, if I can just post bail.”

The resident said he had this scam tried on him before, but this time decided to play along to see how far it would go.

“This guy, who claimed to be my oldest grandson gave me the name of his attorney….who I called. This guy told me how important it is to “save” my “oldest grandson” from jail….and that “my attorney” can get him released if I send him $12,000…..a reasonable amount for the freedom of my “oldest grandson.”

The resident said he told the grifter that he knew about this scam and that man should be ashamed of himself. “I said a few other things about his lineage…he called me a couple of names and hung up,” the resident said and added, “What a “fun morning”.

The resident added that there are lot of older people in our town and they might be susceptible to this scam… “in fact, I know one smart e- lawyer who fell for it and almost wired the scammer $10,000,” the resident said. “Luckily, he was warned of the fraud and ended the deal.”

(Editor’s note: CTN has asked two different sources why criminals seem to get phone numbers for the elderly and are able to continue to pull the “grandson in jail scam.” Is it because those who are retired answer their phones more frequently? Or do people/criminals have access to the phone numbers of those on Medicare?)


Scammers have called residents and threatened to turn off power unless a payment is made immediately.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power put out the following scam alert “LADWP does NOT ask for gift cards or cash payments via ATMs, kiosks or Bitcoin machines. If you’re asked to do so, it’s a scam! Valid methods of payment are listed on your bill and include 1) mail, 2) LADWP customer service 3) or 4) 1-800-DIAL-DWP (for payment or a scam).”


If someone asks you to pay a bill with a Target gift card, it is a scam.


At the November 9 Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, Ranee Katzenstine, who is a Palisadian and also an assistant U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice and chief of the Major Frauds Division spoke about “Pig Butchering” and gift card scams.

GIFT CARDS: if someone tells you to pay something with a gift card. It is a scam. If you purchase a gift card, do not give someone that card number. Within minutes of providing the number, there are teams of runners that will go to the store and use it. Interestingly, Target gift cards are the gift card of choice.

“Gift cards are for presents,” Katzenstein said. “They are not for anything else.”

She also warned of “red flags.” If someone tells you it has to be done fast—and not to tell anyone else,” it is a warning that this is not legit. If you receive a call from DWP, for example, that your power is going to be shut off, go to DWP, go to the source itself to verify—and remember DWP does not take gift cards.

If you do get taken, report it. Many people are too embarrassed to admit they’ve been duped. “Don’t be embarrassed,” Katzenstein said. “You are being victimized, report it.” You can report it to the police and if it’s a financial fraud you can call the F.B.I.

“Every reported crime makes it easier to prosecute the criminals,” Katzenstein said, who also explained the “Pig Butchering” scam

PIG BUTCHERING: The criminal starts by establishing a digital relationship with a victim, which includes manipulation and phony profiles. They may even go so far as to set up a fake account and provide a bank statement. Once they’ve established trust with a victim, they will invest in cryptocurrency, taking all of the victim’s funds.

Pig butchering scam is built on lies.

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2 Responses to Scammers Call and Want Money for a Family Member in Jail

  1. Lifelong Palisadian says:

    Every time I get a “Grandpa?” call I ask if it’s (pick a name) calling. They say yes and repeat the name. I usually ask why they haven’t called in so long, and tell them that I’m not sending them any more money, they’ll have to get out of this on their own. The responses can be amusing.

    I also have been receiving frequent calls from “Spectrum” with an offer to “help lower my bill”. I understand that this is a scam for gift cards. Anybody who thinks Spectrum is going to call them to lower their bill may want to consult a professional.

  2. Jane Permaul says:

    I received one a couple of years ago, about my nephew being arrested, etc. Fortunately, my husband works for the County and called the sheriff’s office to inquire about any arrests as described. They could not confirmed. We gave the sheriff our telephone number and when the call came in. Think they may have easily traced it. I have not gotten such a call again.

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