Walla Walla law enforcement warns about scams

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WALLA WALLA -- At least one area resident and one local business have been hit in a series of telephone scams that have local law enforcement officers on alert and cautioning citizens.

In one case, a woman was tricked out of more than $5,500 by a caller purporting to be a grandchild involved in an accident in Canada and in urgent need of the money.

Incarnations of the scam, in which the callers target older residents and pretend to be a grandchild, have already hit other local residents. In some cases, the transactions have been halted before the money could be sent. In this case, the woman was not able to learn the deception in time, according to a news release by the Walla Walla Police Department.

In a scam targeting local businesses, one local business is out $800 after receiving a call from someone pretending to be with a law enforcement agency.

According to the news release, the caller called to discuss an employee of the business who had landed in jail. The caller said money was needed from the employers to bail the employee out of jail.

Although a few businesses have received such calls, only one so far has actually wired the money, according to the release.

The callers have enough details about the employee, such as knowing the first name and that the person is not at work, to make the call convincing, according to the release.

All area residents should be cautious about parting with money based on phone calls, police say. In most cases, it is nearly impossible to recover money once it has been wired elsewhere, the press release notes.

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