An elderly couple was conned out of $17,000 by a Jersey City man who used the “grandson in trouble” scam to get them to send the money to a vacant Clifton address, said authorities who arrested him.
Eliezer Velasquez, 21, may have had accomplices, Clifton Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said Thursday.
The victims, who live in Maine, received a call last Thursday from someone posing as their grandson claiming that he’d been arrested and needed bail money immediately, Bracken said.
Complying with his directions, they sent $8,500 via FedEx to the unoccupied Clifton home – then got another call asking for more money, the lieutenant said.
So they sent another $8,500, he said.
Family members who learned what had happened contacted authorities in Maine -- who, in turn, notified Clifton police.
Clifton detectives identified a suspect within a day and soon had Velasquez in custody, Bracken said.
He was charged with two counts of theft. Meanwhile, an investigation was continuing.
This type of scam continues to grow throughout the U.S., particularly in the New York metropolitan area, Bracken noted.
SEE: Prospect Park detectives captured a Clifton man who they said conned a 72-year-old man out of $8,000 by claiming the victim’s nephew was in trouble.
Bracken urged would-be victims never to send cash or other funds to someone who contacts them by phone. He also asked those with older parents or other relatives to discuss this with them.
No one with a legitimate reason ever asks that money be sent through FedEx, wire transfers or pre-paid credit cards, the lieutenant said.
“Even when it comes to mailings, confirmation should be made as to the legitimacy of the organization before funds are sent,” Bracken said.
“The most effective way to combat this epidemic is by educating the elderly community,” he added.
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