The Powell Police Department is warning residents about a phone scam designed to get their money.

The Powell Police Department is warning residents about a phone scam designed to get their money.

The "grandma scam" preys upon the emotions of senior citizens. It starts with a phone call in which the scammer tells the victim that a grandchild has been hospitalized or arrested out of the country and needs money for the medical bill or bail.

A scammer recently used the "Grandma Scam" to prey upon a Powell resident, according to Powell police detective Darren Smith.

The scammer uses emotional language to make the victim believe the story, but never reveals the whereabouts of the grandchild. The scammer might also urge the victim not to contact anyone else about the phone call, supposedly to spare the grandchild embarrassment or legal trouble or to avoid delay. Finally, he asks the victim to send money immediately through wire transfer, usually Western Union or MoneyGram. Once the money is received, the scammer often calls back and asks the grandparent to pay additional money for other charges.

"The victim stated that she was contacted by phone by an unknown male subject who said her grandson had been involved in a car accident," Smith said, noting that the resident sent about $3,500 to the Dominican Republic.

Smith advises that anyone getting a phone call like this should not be carried away by persuasive language or a believable story. Even if the scammer knows things like your grandchild's name and age, demand all the details about the situation, including the name and location of the hospital or jail, specific criminal charges, etc.

"Do not share personal information about you or your family, and never give out bank account information or Social Security numbers," Smith said. "Once the phone call ends, verify your grandchild's whereabouts with other relatives and your grandchild's friends, coworkers, school officials and classmates before you give any money to the caller. You can always contact your local police department for assistance with verifying your grandchild's whereabouts, and you should definitely contact police if you feel the phone call is fraudulent."

These kinds of phone calls should be reported to police immediately and consumer complaints can also be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov to file a consumer complaint. The non-emergency telephone number for the Powell police number is (614) 885-5005, and for the sheriff's office it's (740) 833-2800