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Pinellas Sheriff Warns of ‘Grandparent Scam’

Telephone Scam | Crime | Tampa Bay News

Five Pinellas County residents were targeted by this scam, which focuses on the elderly, within the past 30 days, according to the Pinellas County sheriff.

PINELLAS COUNTY – Five residents have been targeted by a telephone scam that seeks to get money from elderly victims by pretending their grandchildren need help, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies said the victims are contacted by someone pretending to call on behalf of a grandchild. The caller tells the victim that their grandchild is injured, and is being transported to the hospital. The caller might also say that a grandchild has been arrested, and bond money is needed. In both instances, the caller instructs the victim to purchase gift cards from local retail stores and provide them with the gift card PIN number.

The scammer immediately withdraws the money from the gift card using the PIN number. The victims later discover their grandchild was never injured or arrested. Furthermore, the money is not available and in most cases untraceable.

Deputies said five Pinellas residents were targeted by the so-called grandparent scam within the past 30 days.

Residents should check on the health and well being of granchildren with other family members before buying gift cards to provide help, deputies said. Residents should never provide gift card PIN numbers over the phone without verifying who the recipient is.

Anyone with information on this scam is asked to call Corporal Detective K. Frazho at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at (727) 582-6200.

For information about the Pinellas County sheriff, go to

Pinellas County Sheriff | Telephone Scam | Crime | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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