North Coast residents are being warned of a new spate of scams targeting the unwary.

The Clatsop County Sheriff's Office is issuing a warning of a telephone financial scam targeting older citizens that has been reported recently by two local residents.

In both cases a male phone caller claimed to be a grandson of the intended victim, and said he had been arrested in Canada or England and needed money to be bailed out. The caller requested that other family members including parents not be contacted because he was embarrassed and wanted to deal with the problem personally.

The caller used real names of the intended victim's grandchildren and appeared to have some generalized knowledge of the family. The caller also claimed he was following the advice of a pro-bono attorney, and gave various names of the purported attorney.

In both cases the intended victims initially believed the caller, but were suspicious enough to either contact the Sheriff's Office or call a family member to substantiate the story. In both cases the claim was false.

The Sheriff's Office warns that scammers will routinely target the senior population and attempt to utilize compassion for their financial gain.

If you receive a call similar to this, contact the local police department or the Sheriff's Office at (503) 325-8635.

State officials have issued a fresh warning an unrelated but common scam.

The Oregon Department of Justice consumer hotline has received a surge of complaints about telephone calls from an entity claiming to be from the Bank of the Cascades. The caller is telling consumers that their bank records have been compromised and that they need to verify the consumer's bank account number.

This is a "phishing" scam, said Tony Green, from the Department of Justice. "Never provide your bank account number over the phone or by e-mail," he said. "No legitimate financial institution will call you and ask you for your bank account number or other sensitive financial information. The scammers are trying to trick consumers into turning over their bank account numbers to they can empty the bank account."

The Consumer Hotline has received more than 20 telephone calls from Central Oregon about this scam. At least one consumer fell prey to the scam and lost $515 immediately after providing their bank account number. This is a significant number of calls for such a short period of time, Green said.

Anyone who believes they have been approached by a scammer should contact the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Hotline at 1-(877) 877-9392 or www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov

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