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'Grandchild in jail' scam dupes Minnesota grandparents out of $4,000 in Target gift cards

A phone scammer got them to believe they were their granddaughter.

A pair of central Minnesota grandparents trying to help someone they thought was their granddaughter were duped out of $4,000 by a "grandchild in jail" phone scam. 

According to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, a grandparent in LeSauk Township, near Sartell, received a call on April 4 from someone claiming to be their granddaughter, who was in need of bail money after being booked into jail. 

Instead of money, the scammer instructed the grandparents to post bail with $4,000 in Target gift cards. The grandparents did as instructed, going to Target and purchasing four gift cards totaling $4,000, then calling the scammer back and providing the numbers on the back of the gift cards. 

The grandparents later realized they might've been duped, and when they tried to freeze the gift cards it was already too late. All the money was gone. 

"While we don't know the ins and outs of every jurisdiction in the United States, it is pretty safe to say no legitimate law enforcement agency will take gift cards as bail money," the sheriff's office said in a weekly letter to the public. 

Anyone who receives a similar call is encouraged to hang up the phone and contact law enforcement. 

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