Ashland woman taken in by 'Grandparents scam'

An Ashland woman was the victim of a telephone scam this week when she wired money to help a man falsely claiming to be her grandson calling from a Canadian jail, police say.

According to Ashland police, the man told the woman he had been arrested in Montreal, Canada, and needed money for bail.

The woman sent a money order of $1,026 to an unknown location in Montreal after being called a second time by a man claiming to be "Mark Johnson," an attorney representing her grandson, police said.

She reported the calls to police on Thursday after a second call from the man requesting more money prompted her to contact family members. They informed her that her grandson was not in jail, police said.

Ashland police are advising residents to be aware of the crime, known as the "grandparents scam" and pulled by scam artists nationwide, and to report suspicious calls to police.

"When anyone asks for money or asks for personal information, that's a clue that you need to ask questions," said Sgt. Bob Smith of Ashland police.

Smith said while many would be quick to help a family member in need, it's important to ask people requesting money over the telephone for as much information about them as possible.

Citing a lack of information in the case, Smith said Ashland police are not investigating the matter.

"This woman is out a thousand dollars," said Smith. "The fact that the money order was sent to another country doesn't really give us much to go on."

Reach Tidings Web editor Andrew Eckerson at 541-776-4486.

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