As of Tuesday, June 12, 2018
GRANGEVILLE “I’ll do anything for a kid, especially my grandkid,” said Don Fluharty.
The Grangeville man was ready to comply with caller requests that Wednesday, May 23, but a talk beforehand with his wife, Janie, informed him, “This sounds like a scam.”
Fluharty was nearly a victim of the family emergency scam. In this case, the story was a grandchild arrested, in jail, and needing money for bail.
Grangeville Police 208-983-1351
Idaho County Sheriff, 208-983-1100
The caller ID listed it as a private caller, and “It sounded like my grandson,” he said, with the correct name, and in a location – McCall – Fluharty knew he would be at. “He sounded all hangdog, said he didn’t want mom and dad to know,” but that he had been in a fender-bender, during which the police found in the vehicle an open container and some marijuana.
A person identified as James Miller said he was the public defender for his grandson, and he was asking Fluharty for $4,000 for court proceedings. This was to be in $1,000 Walmart gift cards – Fluharty told them he’d have to travel to Lewiston for that — and that after proceedings were completed he would get his money back.
With his wife’s warning, Fluharty then found out his grandson was still in town and not yet in McCall for his upcoming summer job. But the personal details leading into this, and his belief he was dealing with an official court system, had been enough to convince Fluharty at the time it was legitimate.
“I was foolish enough to do it,” he said, “but I’ve been foolish about a lot of things and I won’t be quiet about it.”
Fluharty has reported the incident to the Grangeville Police Department, and he was planning to contact Walmart concerning the matter.
The Federal Trade Commission warns scam artists search social networking sites, and they can also hack e-mail accounts for detailed personal information to use in their attempts to convince potential victims of the story’s legitimacy.
In such cases, law enforcement advises to not react immediately but verify the person’s identity with questions a stranger couldn’t possibly answer, to contact family and friends for verification, or to call the person in question at a number you know to be genuine. Frauds and fraud attempts should be reported to local law enforcement.