This year there have been more than 1,300 “grandchild” scams in Poland. Just in Warsaw scammers have extorted approx. 10 million zł.
What is the “grandchild” scam? It’s quite simple really.
A scammer skims a phone book in search of a name common among the elderly, then calls the chosen person pretending to be their grandchild’s friend or an actual member of their family, and claiming to be in trouble (there are a few different scenarios) and in desperate need of money. They ask that the senior gives the money (and sometimes other valuable possessions) to a “friend”, and then later call again to say thanks and confirm they’ve received it.
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This primitive method used by organised gangs is very successful. Despite warnings of the police, awareness-raising actions and announcements in churches the scale of the so called “grandchild” fraud has been rising alarmingly. In the first half of this year there have already been more than 1,300 such crimes. That’s almost 70 percent of the last year’s numbers – according to the National Police Headquarters’ data.
We make such cases public and warn people. But the culprits mercilessly exploit the trust of the elderly who attach great importance to values such as the desire to help others – says Anna Kędzierzawska of the Metropolitan Police.
Police reports speak for themselves. In 2012 there were 1,100 such scams, last year nearly 1,900. All indications show that this year there will be even more “grandchild” scams, which is almost twice as many as within the same period last year (762).
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