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November 24, 2008

Elder Abuse/Scams: How to Avoid Grandparents Scams (MI. USA)

Grandparents lose $33,000, urge caution of new scam
by Susan K. Treutler
The Muskegon Chronicle
November 23, 2008, 6:57 AM

GRAND HAVEN — It started with a phone call from someone they thought was their teenage grandson.

As the story went, he was in Canada with friends. He'd been caught fishing without a license. He needed $3,000 to pay the fine. And, by the way, he said: Please don't let his parents know he was in trouble.

What followed was a series of phone calls — up to five or six a day over a six-day period — from "police," describing their "grandson's" escalating troubles.
Before it was over, the elderly couple had wired $33,000 of their life savings to Canada, money they don't expect to ever see again.

The grandmother said she has heard that scammers get names of potential victims from places like family tree sites on the Internet.

The people on the phone were concerned, helpful and convincing, she said. One of the scammers effectively impersonated her grandson. On another occasion, they said they were agents of the Internal Revenue Service.

How to avoid falling for it:
Grandparents who receive urgent calls, allegedly from their grandchildren, should immediately call another family member or the grandchild directly using his or her home or cell phone number to verify their whereabouts.
Do not call the number the caller has given to you.

Do not offer any information. If the grandchild says something like "this is your favorite grandson," ask: "Which one?"

Use a trick question, like 'How's your sister?' If your grandson doesn't have a sister, you will know immediately the call is a hoax.

Never give out personal identifying information such as bank account or credit card account numbers to anyone you do not know and never send money to an unknown account or entity.

When in doubt, Ottawa County Sheriff's Department officials recommend you call your local law enforcement agency for information.

Abridged
SOURCE: MLIVE (MI. USA)
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DISCLAIMER

Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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