Police warn local residents of grandma scam

CAMDEN, NJ (WTXF) Police have a warning for Camden residents. Investigators say someone is calling or texting people saying their loved one is in danger, then the person demands cash. Police say this has happened more than a dozen times. According to police, these calls are being made randomly.

Cleophus Robinson was sitting on his front porch two weeks ago working on his computer when he got an unusual text message. It said someone he knew was in an accident and urged him to call back the number so he did and that's when strange things started to happen.

“They said, 'Do you have any family living in Camden?'I said, ‘Yeah, I have plenty of family living in Camden,'” he told FOX 29.

The caller told him his relative got in a car accident and he needed money to take a crash victim to the hospital. Robinson asked to talk to the relative. However, the caller refused. then he told Robinson he was wanted for murder in Columbia and was holding Robinson’s daughter hostage. He also had a warning: 'Don’t turn off your phone or I'm gonna put a bullet in her head," Robinson told FOX 29 the caller said. 

The caller demanded $2,000. Robinson told him he only had $500 when the caller again refused to let him speak with his daughter, he sensed a scam and hung up.

"I was scared but I hung up, then I got on the phone and called my daughter at City Hall where she works and she answered the phone," he said.

Robinson called police to report what happened. Police now say they are investigating 15 similar incidents commonly referred to as the grandma scam with a similar call.

Police say the calls are being made randomly from an 856 area code. They're tracking multiple suspects. In the meantime, they are warning people to beware.

According to police, several people have fallen for the scam and gave money. If you receive the call, please write down the number and call police.

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