SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office is warning residents about a telephone scam that has been targeting area grandparents.
In the scam, the suspects call and pretend to be a grandchild in trouble and in need of money, according to the district attorney's office.
The calls are well rehearsed and dramatically presented in order for the grandparent to react emotionally and immediately.
The scam artists describe a situation where they are in trouble and need money because they are in jail or they are traveling and their luggage and money has been lost.
The caller will tell the grandparent not to tell their parents, because they don't want to get in trouble, and the caller asks the grandparent to go to a Western Union, CVS or other store to purchase a Money Gram or re-loadable card to send them.
There have also been instances in which the scam artist have requested victims go to the bank to make a direct deposit, according to the district attorney's office.
The typical victim loses between $800 and $5,000.
The district attorney's office is reminding people to never give out personal information to anyone over the phone or agree to pay money to someone from an unsolicited telephone call until they have had the opportunity to personally confirm the information with trusted family members.
Anyone who has been a victim of this scam is asked to contact the Consumer Affairs Division at (831) 454-2050.