A Menlo Park woman was apparently the victim of a phone scam when she mailed $25,000 to an address in New York because she was told it was needed to bail her son out of a Mexican jail, according to the Menlo Park police.
The 74-year-old victim reportedly received a call from a person she thought was her son, and later from someone who identified himself as her son's friend, asking for the money around Aug. 1.
On Aug. 8, the woman received a call from her son saying that he was safe and hadn't been in Mexico, said police spokeswoman Nicole Acker.
The woman told police she doesn't remember the New York address she sent the money to, police said.
The police have alerted stores that sell gift cards and cash cards to be on the lookout for elderly people buying large amounts of the cards that are frequently used to pay off scammers, Acker said.
The incident appears to be a variation on what is known as the "grandparent scam," which, according to the Federal Trade Commission, victimized nearly one in five people contacted by scammers nationwide in 2017, resulting in cumulative losses of $328 million, the AARP reported.