EYEWITNESS NEWS(WBRE/WYOU) — A Federal Grand Jury has indicted five men in connection with an alleged “Grandparent Mail Fraud Scam.”

The scam occurred in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Federal investigators say those indicted called their target, mostly elderly individuals, claiming they had to send them cash to get their grandchild out of legal trouble.

We hear about scams like this just about every day and many times the perpetrators get away with the crime and their victims’ money. But federal investigators say not this time around.

“Normally, I get any calls like that, I just hang up. They say something about your grandson or granddaughter is in trouble, I just hang the phone up because I know it’s not true,” Michael Napkori of Wilkes-Barre said.

Napkori says he was glad to hear that federal indictments have been handed up against five New York men in an alleged grandparent scam .He was not one of the victims in this case, but says he has been targeted by scammers in the recent past.

“The first thing I asked him where’s he at? They said you can’t speak with him, can’t do this. So I started thinking next what’s his mother’s name? As soon as I said that, they hung right up,” Napkori said.

But according to a nine-page federal indictment, at least five elderly grandparents in northeastern Pennsylvania did not hang up the phone. They were duped into sending cash, a total of nearly $30,000 to various addresses in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area via U.P.S or FedEx, where, according to federal documents, the suspects or others connected to the scheme, picked up the cash-laden boxes. In one case a victim sent a firearm as payment.

“They are preying on the grandparent’s love of the child, their grandchild in order to get they to try and send them something. Bail money or whatever it might be,” United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania John Gurganus said.

Gurganus says the men indicted range in age from 19 to 27 and based their operation in The Bronx, New York. According to the federal indictment, they posed as the target’s grandchild or an attorney representing their grandchild. Gurganus offers this advice to grandparents: “In these instances grandparents should reach out to others. Don’t get pressed into anything. Try to call their grandchild because oftentimes their grandchild will pick up the phone and say I’m not in any trouble.”

And Gurganus says scams like the grandparents scams take victims for around $3 billion a year in the United States each year. They face 20 years in prison if convicted of these charges which include mail fraud and identity theft.

All five men have pleaded not guilty to the charges and remain in federal custody Monday night.