OSP warns seniors about phone scam

Seniors who get a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild stranded in Canada or overseas needing to be wired money should just hang up the phone, police say.

The Oregon State Police said two such incidents have been reported in Eastern Oregon recently. In the past, Jackson County residents have been targeted with a similar scam.

An Ashland woman thwarted a scammer this summer, but people in Ashland and Talent lost thousands of dollars in similar cases in 2008 and 2010.

Callers typically request money be wired in a very short time frame, saying they are stuck in a foreign country, possibly hurt or facing criminal charges. They often insist on secrecy and get some personal details wrong, police said.

OSP said the imposters may go through online postings or newspaper anniversary announcements and obituaries to find information about the family.

"This is a despicable scam conducted by con artists in the U.S. and other countries," OSP said in a news release.

Those who think they have received such calls should report the scam to the Oregon Attorney General Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 and the Federal Trade Commission at 1-800-FTC-HELP.

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