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Napa Police Warn of Scam Calls to Seniors

Is that really your niece calling from jail in another country? The "grandparent scam" is back, say Napa police in this community advisory. Don't be fooled: Ask for proof before sending money.

A recurrent scam targeting seniors is back in business in the Napa area, according to an advisory from the City of Napa Police Department:

The Napa Police Department has experienced an increase in calls to elderly residents. The caller identifies themselves  as a relative, (grandchild, nephew, niece, etc), and claims to be incarcerated, arrested or incarcerated in a foreign country, or other state. 

Often times, the caller knows the relative's name. The callers always request money be wired to them for bail.

The Napa Police Department would like to remind citizens to be vigilant. Verify the information with family, or contact the agency where the caller claims to be held. Do  not rely on the information provided solely by the caller. 

There is a number of variations of this crime (lottery winnings in other countries, inheritances, etc.) where the caller or mailer asks for money to be wire transferred or sent to them directly. Often times these scams originate overseas and out of the reach of local law enforcement. 

If you feel you’ve been contacted by a suspected scam artist, you can make an on line report at: www.iC3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center) or contact the Napa Police Department at (707) 257-9223.

Source: City of Napa Police Department.

Once money is wired, it cannot be traced, according to  that people who receive such a call ask a question only a family member could answer.

The scammers often call early in the morning or late at night to catch people off guard, Lieberstein told Bay City News Service last year.

Anyone with caller ID who receives scam calls asking for money should write down the numbers and report them to police, Lieberstein said.

Source: Bay City News Service.

For the latest reports on crime, arrests and public safety in the Napa Valley, please see our Police & Fire section, available from the News tab above and at napa.patch.com/police-fire.

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