Florida couple loses $25,000 in 'Grandparents Scam': What to watch out for

An elderly couple in Central Florida was scammed out of $25,000 in what deputies are calling an elaborate ‘Grandparents Scam.’

The DeLand couple said they received a call from someone posing as their granddaughter saying they were in legal trouble. 

"A woman identifying herself as their granddaughter had called and said she was involved in a vehicle accident in South Carolina and needed $12,500 for bail to be released from jail," the sheriff's office said. 

The caller reportedly told the couple a courier would pick up the money and instructed them to place it in a shoebox. The couple – not knowing it was a scam – got the money and followed the instructions. Shortly afterward, a male courier collected the money and drove away.

A few hours later, the couple said they received another phone call, this time from a woman claiming to be their granddaughter’s lawyer. 

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"The ‘lawyer’ stated the other accident victim was pregnant and the baby had died. Their granddaughter was possibly going to be charged with vehicular homicide and the judge had set bail at $25,000, so she needed another $12,500."

The couple again complied and a different driver appeared to pick up the money.

Then a third call came in. This time it was from a man stating he was a prosecutor in the case who said another $10,000 was needed to help their granddaughter avoid prison for 10 years. That's when the couple became suspicious and contacted the sheriff's office.

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"This type of impostor scam is known as ‘Grandparents Scam’ in which impostors pose as law enforcement officers who call grandparents claiming their grandchild is in jail," the sheriff's office said.

In some cases, the caller pretends to be the grandchild and says they’ve been mugged or detained in another country and need money to return home.

The sheriff's office wants the public to be aware of this type of scam and to always follow your gut. 

"Stop, listen to your instinct, verify the grandchild’s whereabouts through another source and avoid acting immediately. If you have any doubt upon receiving such a call, hang up and call our non-emergency number: (386) 248-1777. We're here to help."