Unfortunately a scam that has been around a few years has resurfaced; the Grandparent Scam. Recently, an elderly woman from Canal Fulton was scammed out of $22,500. You can read more on this story.
Here are the common scenarios:
- A grandparent receives a phone call from a "grandchild." If it is a phone call, it's often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren't thinking that clearly. Usually, the
person claims to be traveling in another state or foreign country and has gotten into a bad
situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in an accident or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn't want his or her parents told.
- Sometimes, instead of the "grandchild" making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. There have also been complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake story.
Scam artists have become more sophisticated. Thanks to the Internet and social networking sites, a criminal can sometimes uncover personal information about their targets, which makes the impersonations more believable.
What to do if you have been scammed. The financial losses in these cases can be substantial for an individual, usually several thousand dollars per victim. We recommend contacting your local authorities or state consumer protection agency if you think you've been victimized.
And, our advice to avoid being victimized in the first place:
- Resist the pressure to act quickly.
- Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
- Never wire money based on a request made over the phone, once you send it, you can't get it back.