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Scam targets grandparents with spoofed phone number

GALESBURG, Illinois -- The Galesburg Police Department has warned that people across the country are receiving phone calls from scammers that appear to be coming from the Galesburg Public Safety Building.

The con artists are using a technique called "spoofing" to make people think the calls are coming from an authority or relative. Spoofing is a relatively new trick, but the police say the scammers are using an old con.

"They're utilizing what we call a 'grandparent scam,'" said Galesburg Police Chief David Christensen. "They'll get a call from somebody identifying themselves as a grandchild, typically. And the grandchild is in trouble and they need cash for some reason."

The police chief said the department received more than 100 phone calls from people across the United States saying they either had a missed call from the Galesburg Public Safety Building or had been targeted by a scammer using their number.

"We're trying to explain that it's just a fraudulent call," said records clerk Kelsy Pacheco. "As long as they didn't give any information and they don't tell them anything about themselves, that it's fine."

The Galesburg Police say  that it will be very difficult catching the scammers because they could be operating from anywhere in the country, or world for that matter.

They say that if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a relative asking for money, confirm the situation with other family members or call the police.