Grandparent Scam

I saw this press release recently and am still astounded by the amount of people that fall for this scam and others like it. I copied it word for word so you could read along with me.

"OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT: On Wednesday Deputy Westlake contacted a County resident on reference to a telephone scam. The victim told Deputy Westlake that at 10:00 a.m. March 13th, he received a phone call from an individual claiming to be his grandson.

This individual told the victim he had been arrested and needed $2,400.00 to get out of jail. The caller told the victim if he wired the money to an account in Lima, Peru they would avoid the two day handling time. The victim wired the money via Western Union to Peru. A couple hours later the victim received another call stating the judge increased the bail and requested an additional $6,250.00. The victim completed this transaction as well. Shortly after the victim received a third call requesting an additional $6,250.00 for the remainder of the bail. This money was transferred as well. On March 14th, 9:00 a.m., the victim received another call requesting $4,800.00 to pay lawyer fees. These funds were transferred. At 3:30 p.m. the victim received another call requesting additional money. The victim did not transfer the money and contacted the Sheriff's Office. The victims grandson had not been in trouble nor did he contact the victim. The victim wired a total of $19,700.00 to the Western Union in Lima, Peru. The phone numbers the victim received are listed. Here are numbers to be aware of: 438-998-6142 ---- 514-458-3080---438-993-6948 AND 438-998-6142"

OK, I may not be the most learned of people but red flags would be flying all around my head if I received a phone call like this. I know these scammers are slick and sometimes even know the name of the grandchild, but.......what was stopping him from putting them off for a few minutes, to call the grandson or at least his kids to find out where the grandson was. He could have said "Sorry Son, you caught me on the crapper, can you call back in about 15?" If a relative really is in trouble, they WILL call back.

It's sad that these scams target the elderly. They are often vulnerable because they either have never heard of the scams or are not quick enough to think of an alternative to the situation. But come on, everyone needs to heed caution when we answer the phone. When something sounds a little strange or even too good to be true, just hang up.


bill said…
I'm always astounded at how many people fall for some of these scams, especially older people, who seem most often be the target. Although some phishing scams do sometimes net people of all ages. The older one gets the more susceptible they become. I know I'm going to be old some day and will have to be especially keen eyed and careful.
D. Duplessis said…
Damn. That's just wrong! People that scam the elderly should rot in hell! I remember writing about that almost a couple years ago now -

There's some really good links on the bottom of the page that can help the elderly.
I think perhaps certain elderly people would become panicked by the situation described to them, and want to help, without thinking anything untoward. Of course scammers know this, which is why the scam works. Also the elderly persons innate good manners might prevent them querying anything.
Grumpy said…
Like Bill I fail to understandl how people fall for these schemes. Do we all one day cross an invisible line and suddenly become stupid?
Mr. Shife said…
My Grandma fell for that scam. They called her and convinced her I was in jail in Spain. She sent them money then called me at home and I told her everything was OK and she had been scammed. Fortunately she was able to get the money back from Western Union because the scammers had a hard time pronouncing my last name. Ever since then I told her that if she gets a phone call like that to ask for our safe word that we have agreed upon. It is just scary how these folks know so much info about us.
kden said…
What a great idea Mr. Shife to have a safe word! I'm so glad she got her money back; all because they were stupid to be able to pronounce your name, ha.

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