A Merrimac resident was scammed out of $18,000 by one of the oldest tricks in the book, the grandparent scam.

Merrimac Police Chief Eric M. Shears said a grandmother received a call from someone claiming to be their grandson needing money in order to be bailed out of jail. A second person got on the call and claimed to be the child's attorney who said someone would come to her house to pick up the money,

The grandmother realized her mistake when her grandson called and said he was not in jail and did not call looking for bail money. An investigation into the scam is ongoing.

“This is a common and brazen scam that targets grandparents and seeks to play on their love for their grandchildren. We want to educate our community about these kinds of scams even as we seek to make an arrest in this case,” Shears said in a statement. “This scam and other versions of it have been reported not just in Merrimac, but in communities throughout the region, and we will never stop pursuing those who seek to victimize seniors.”

Shears asked residents who believe they may have been scammed to contact the Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321.

Shears offered these tips from the Federal Trade Commission about scams:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.
  • Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.
  • Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.
  • Don’t wire money – or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.
  • Report possible fraud at ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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