Grandparents Fall Victim to Scammers Posing as their Grandchildren “Grandparent Scam” is back
Well-meaning grandparents who think they are helping a grandchild in distress are becoming victims of another wave of the so-called “Grandparent Scam,” warns the Better Business Bureau. So far, the scam has targeted grandparents in the panhandle area and across the country and stolen thousands of dollars from victims.
“The grandparent scam preys on the love and concern a grandparent has for their grandchildren, said Janna Kiehl, CEO Of the BBB of the Texas Panhandle. “It has proven to be an extremely lucrative con for scammers. Fortunately, you can avoid being a victim of this scam as long as you don’t let your emotions get the best of you.”
How it works:
Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from a caller they are led to believe is their grandchild. A scammer, posing as their grandchild, explains that he or she has gotten into trouble, often in Canada or other far off place, and needs their help. The “grandchild” might claim he or she caused a car accident or was arrested for drug possession. With the new wave of calls, victims are also contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer or lawyer representing the grandchild in court.
The caller pleads to the grandparents not tell his or her parents and asks that they wire thousands of dollars for reasons including posting bail, repairing the grandchild’s car, covering lawyer’s fees or even paying hospital bills for a person the grandchild injured in a car accident.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild in distress, BBB advises you don’t disclose any information before you have confirmed it really is your grandchild. If a caller says “It’s me, grandma!” don’t respond with a name but instead let the caller explain who he or she is. One easy way to confirm their identity is to ask a simple question that your grandchild would know such as what school he or she goes to or their middle name.
Be leery of requests to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram which should be seen as a “red flag”. Funds sent via wire transfer are hard to track once received by scammers and are rarely if at all recoverable by law enforcement or banking officials.
If you have fallen victim to the scam, report the incident immediately to local police and the state Attorney General’s office. If there is a request to wire money to Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre has established the PhoneBusters hotline and Web site to report such fraud. Reports can be filed easily online through the PhoneBusters site at: www.phonebusters.com, or by phone, toll free at, 1-888-495-8501. You may also alert the BBB at www.txpanhandle.bbb.org; click on Scam Stopper where you can also sign up for email alerts.