Sheriff warns of "Grandma, I'm in jail" scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sheriff warns of "Grandma, I'm in jail" scam


IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- The Johnson County Sheriff is warning people about a scam that has returned to the Johnson County area.

Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek says the "Grandma, I'm in jail" scam goes as follows:

Someone calls pretending to be a grandson or granddaughter.  Sometimes they even know the grandchild's name.  They claim to have taken a trip to Canada for a wedding, ballgame, or similar event and say they have been arrested. 

They then beg for bail money or money for medical bills and make the victim promise not to tell anyone, especially their parents.  After the victim agrees to send the money, the supposed arresting officer gives information on how and where to send the money and tells the victim to call to confirm the money has been sent.

Pulkrabek says two phone numbers are often used for callback numbers in this scam, either 416-838-9354 and 647-894-9811.

Pulkrabek recommends you take the following steps if you are asked to wire money to a relative who is supposedly in trouble.

1. Attempt to contact the relative involved at a number previously used by you to make contact.

2. Involve other family members regardless of being asked not to do so.

3. Contact law enforcement immediately.

4. If 416-838-9351 or 647-894-9811 is used as callback number for confirmation of the transaction, DO NOT SEND MONEY ANYWHERE!

The Johnson County Sheriffs Office would suggest calling 319-356-6020 or electronically at for further information or to report telephone or Internet scams.

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