By the Niagara County Sheriff's Office
On June 4, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a "grandson in jail" scam on Wheeler Road in Gasport. Deputy John Sheehan spoke to the 84-year-old victim who stated she was contacted by a person who identified himself as a police officer. He told the victim her grandson was arrested and he needed $8,500 in bail money. The victim went to her local bank and withdrew the money. She followed the "officer's" instructions and packaged the money to be sent to an address in Michigan. She then left the money on her doorstep for pre-arranged pickup by a local delivery company. After speaking with concerned family, she realized her grandson was not in jail.
On June 5, Investigator Michael Leggett tracked the package to a Niagara Falls Office Max, which was holding the package for FedEx Express pickup. Leggett went to the Office Max, which required a subpoena to seize the package. With fast assistance from the Niagara County District Attorney's Office, a subpoena was obtained and the money was seized before it was sent to the scammer.
Leggett and Sheehan returned the money to the victim and her family.
As June is Elder Abuse Month, this is a prime example of the crimes scammers commit to prey on our vulnerable elder population. If you suspect a family member is a victim of fraud, call your local police agency or NY CONNECTS (1-800-342-9871) to report.