Local man out $2K after falling for 'grandparents scheme'

Updated:

Loading
None —

PITTSBURGH -- John Barleman told Target 11 consumer investigator Robin Taylor he got a call from someone claiming to be his grandson. 

The person on the phone told Barleman he was arrested for drug possession in Peru and needed the money to get out of jail, so Barleman wired $2,400 to an address he’d been given.

"I was 99 percent sure that this was my grandson," said Barleman.

The next day, the imposter called back saying he needed more money. That’s when Barleman became suspicious and called his in-laws and found out his grandson was safe at home in Oregon.

Pittsburgh police told Taylor these cases are practically impossible to solve.  The money is wired through Western Union and could be picked up anywhere in the world.

 "If you're uncomfortable, trust your instincts and just hang up.  Second, if you're on the phone with the imposter, you can ask them questions that only your true relative would know," said Detective Sgt. Kevin Gasiorowski with the Pittsburgh Police Department.

If you get a call like this, don’t send money. Call a family member and find out where your grandchild is located. Chances are they’re safe at home and not in trouble in a foreign country.