Vermilion authorities warn of Jamaican phone scam

Vermilion Parish authorities are warning local residents of phone scam operating from Jamaica that nearly cost one resident $5,000.

The callers pose as family or friends needing money to get out jail, pay a house note before foreclosure or a hospital bill, or some other dire circumstance, Sheriff Mike Couvillon said Wednesday.

One resident reported getting a call from someone who identified himself as her grandson in need of $5,000 fast, Couvillon said in a news release.

“The scammer was banking on the grandmother’s love and concern (for) her grandson to outweigh her skepticism before she realized it was a scam,” he said.

After investigating, the caller’s 876 area code showed he was from Jamaica, the source of many scams in the past few hears.

Couvillon said Vermilion residents are getting calls that begin, “Hi Grandma ... Do you know who this is?” then they assume the name mentioned by the unsuspecting resident.

Residents who receive the calls should not immediately act, “no matter how dramatic the story is,” he said. And, he added, don’t follow the instructions left by the caller to keep the phone call a secret.

“Don’t wire money, send a check or money order by overnight deliver or courier,” Couvillon said, and contact police.