By: Sharon Aron Baron
Police are continually warning residents about telephone con artists targeting senior citizens using a distressed loved-one tactic – otherwise known as the Grandparent Scam and cannot reiterate enough not to become the next victim.
My family was a victim of the Grandparent Scam. In 2019, my in-laws were called by a man posing as their grandson – my son, who said he was in jail, begging them to not tell us as we would be angry.
They believed it was him. They probably even told his name to the scammers, thinking it was him.
They also wanted to help. It was in their nature.
So when an “official” got on the phone and told them he was an attorney at a jail in another state and needed $6,000 to release my son, my in-laws wasted no time getting to the bank. The scammers said they would have someone come by their home to pick up the money and get it to the attorney.
This was when they called us.
We were in disbelief. I assured them that I had just gotten off the phone with him just hours prior where he was attending classes at the University of Florida. My husband took the phone and said our son would have called us first if he was in trouble.
We told them they were part of a scam and to contact the police to make sure this person did not come by looking for the money.
An hour later, the pick-up person called, and after my father-in-law started asking pointed questions, they got cold feet and did not visit the home.
Thankfully, $6,000 of their retirement money was saved.
In the Grandparent Scam featured in the video above, the elderly resident received a call, found out his grandson was okay and then contacted the Coral Springs Police. An investigator contacted the number they left and they took the bait…..until the very end.
In the scam, much like the one my in-laws experienced, the alleged attorney explains to the “victim” that his nephew has been arrested for a crime and that they are representing them. The attorney then demands a wire transfer to release him from jail.
Typically they ask the transaction to be completed through Western Union or MoneyGram. The “attorney” may also ask the victim for a bank account number. Another tactic used to defraud senior citizens is advising them that their grandchild has been involved in a vehicle accident, and they require medical assistance.
Once the victim wires the money, there is no way to reverse the transaction once it is sent. The funds cannot be traced or recovered at a later time.
According to Coral Springs Police, the scammers are possibly locating their targets on the internet through Google searches, Facebook, or other social networking websites.
Residents are asked to be suspicious if they receive a phone call where a grandchild calls you from a faraway location, is in some trouble, the caller asks for money via a wire transfer or your bank account information, or someone posing as an attorney or legal counsel asks for funds to assist a loved one.
Scammers again called my in-laws on Tuesday. The person on the other end of the line said they were his grandson and even knew his name. He said he was in jail in New York and needed their help.
My mother-in-law didn’t fall for it again. She gave the scammers a piece of her mind –along with a few choice words — and hung up.
We hope that someone you love will hang up too.
Contact the police immediately if you receive a call like this and never give money to anyone who demands it over the phone, including people posing as IRS agents.