Madison County Sheriff’s Office requests all Grandparents be aware of the newest Scam reported to our office. The “GRANDPARENT SCAM” .
On March 19, 2013 a report was filed with MCSO that a couple had received a phone call from a young person only identifying themselves as their “favorite grandson”. When the grandparent called a name of one of her grandsons they answered “Yes, it’s me” explaining they were in jail and didn’t want their parents to find out and could they please help them by wire a large amount of money to a Bail Bondsman in Panama.
This person was so convincing, the grandparent went to Wal-Mart and tried to wire the money. Luckily the transaction did not go through and the grandparent was able to keep her money. And after contacting her children found out her grandson was at home and not in trouble in Panama.
Not any one of us wouldn’t drop whatever we’re doing to help a grandchild, but before making this happen, please verify and don’t be a victim.
Scam Safety Tips.
1) Listen to the caller and take notes, including the person’s Caller I.D.
2) Don’t give the caller any of your personal information.
3) Verify your family member’s location by using a valid phone number or speaking with other relatives.
4) Contact the U.S. Embassy in the country involved and ask for assistance or verification of an arrest.
5) Report the scam to your local police/sheriff’s office or FBI
Scammers have become more sophisticated in researching their targets, likely using social networking sites such as Facebook to learn about family members who are abroad. Other times, the scammers just cold-call their targets and hope for a easy victim.
The caller posing as the family member also will plead with the grandparent to not contact other relatives for fear of getting into trouble or worrying them, a tactic that helps isolate the victims into giving money.
Many of the scammers often make it sound as if the money needs to be sent urgently, but don’t fall for it. If someone actually is arrested or in the hospital, then there should be no such rush.
Unfortunately, once the money is gone, it’s gone for good. Victims rarely get their money back.
The scam works because it pulls on the heartstrings of grandparents. Stay alert and don’t be a victim.