Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office warns of “grandparent scams”

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about recent telephone-based scams in the area, which target elderly people.

Dubbed as “grandparent scams”, the scammers place a call to the victim pretending to be a grandchild or other relative in need of emergency assistance.

“The scammers will prey on the emotions of the person receiving the call,” the sheriff’s office warned.

Variations of this scam include scenarios where the “grandchild” has been arrested or has been involved in an accident and needs the victim’s help.

Often, a scammer pretending to be a lawyer, police officer, or judge will come on the line and direct the victim to Western Union or MoneyGram or request that they purchase an iTunes gift card to make instant payment to an attorney or for bail.

“The scammers will use scare tactics to get the victims to comply,” the sheriff’s office warned.

If you receive a similar call, the sheriff’s office advises to hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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