Fraud Alert: The Never-Ending Grandparent Scam
It appears that the regrettable success of the “Grandparent Scam” has prompted scammers to continue their criminal assault on senior citizens.
An 82-year-old New Jersey woman received a call from a person that she believed to be her grandson. The caller stated “I was in a car accident. I broke my nose and split my lip.”
The phone was immediately handed to an individual claiming to be her grandson’s public defender. The victim was told that her grandson was in custody, having caused the accident, and that he needed her to send $8,000 to facilitate his release.
Aware of the protective nature of grandparents, the most common method generally involves a telephone call indicating that the victim’s grandchild is in some sort of trouble. As in this case, the call sounds urgent and asks the victim to send money immediately in order to resolve a legal or medical issue.
On occasion, the victim may receive a text message requesting assistance.
The victim is told to wire money or to buy gift cards or that someone will stop by to pick up cash.
The 82-year-old rushed to the bank and withdrew the funds.
“My hand was shaking when I went to get the money out of the bank. My whole body was shaking.”
Shortly after she arrived home, an individual arrived at her door to pick up the cash.
Reported losses have reached tens of millions of dollars annually; some of the crimes are not reported due to embarrassment.
WHAT TO DO SHOULD YOU RECEIVE SUCH A CALL:
Take a deep breath and avoid panicking. Before taking any action, terminate the call. Immediately call the family member or friend who is in trouble using the phone number that you always use to contact them. If they are unavailable, contact a close family member or friend who would have knowledge of the situation.
Never…never wire money, buy gift cards or surrender cash!
If all efforts to verify the incident fail, contact local law enforcement for assistance.
If scammed, immediately contact your payment company and report the suspected fraud.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission, as soon as possible, at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/.
Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office