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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam, , ,   

    Grandparent scams the scammers 

    Grandparent scams the scammers

    By Greg Collier

    We don’t often talk about scammers being arrested for a few reasons. One is that more often than not, scammers are based overseas, which makes them difficult to apprehend and prosecute. Another reason is that in numerous instances, it’s best to just hang up on a scammer than to try to confront them. However, there was a story reported over the weekend that was just too good not to share.

    This particular story involves the grandparent scam. Longtime readers will know the grandparent scam is when scammers call an elderly victim pretending to be one of the victim’s grandchildren. Typically, the scammer will say that they’ve been involved in some form of legal trouble and need money for bail or other legal fees. Then the scammer will ask that the fake fees be paid in some convoluted manner that will be hard to trace.

    Recently, scammers tried this on a 73-year-old grandmother from Long Island. The caller claiming to be her grandson said he had been arrested for a DUI and needed $8,000 for bail. The scammers called the wrong grandmother because not only does she not have any driving age grandchildren, but she’s also a former police dispatcher. She is said to have played along with the scammer. The scammer said a courier would be coming to her house to pick up the money. The woman called police and when the ‘courier’ showed up, she handed him an envelope full of paper towels. That’s when police were able to arrest the 28-year-old suspect.

    While it’s always good to see an alleged scammer get their comeuppance, we don’t recommend letting them come to your home like this. This instance was a special circumstance since the woman had procedural knowledge of law enforcement. In most cases, if you know someone is trying to scam you, hang up and then call police to let them know this scam is in the area. Too often, grandparent scammers are now posing as couriers, and you don’t want them coming to your home. Who knows what they could do later if they know where you live and know that you have money.

    And as always, if you receive one of these calls, contact the grandchild that they’re claiming is in legal trouble. You’ll probably find that they’re in no trouble at all.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    Grandchildren are huge security risks 

    By Greg Collier

    The grandparent scam is one of the worst scams that continues to plague seniors in our country. For those who may be unfamiliar with the grandparent scam, it’s when a scammer calls an elderly victim posing as one of the victim’s grandchildren. Typically, the scammer will say that they’re in some kind of legal trouble and need money for bail or some other legal fee. They’ll then instruct the victim not to tell anyone else in the family because they’re embarrassed, but what they’re really doing is making sure the victim’s family is unaware of the scam. This scam has cost seniors thousands of dollars at a time and has put the victim’s safety at risk.

    Grandparent scammers often possess very detailed information about the person they’re claiming to be. According to the Better Business Bureau, this is because younger generations tend to overshare information on social media. This leads the scammers to all sorts of information about the victim’s family. The reason this is important is that it circumvents one of the ways usually used to detect this scam. Security experts typically advise seniors to ask the caller a question that only the grandchild would know. Now, that answer may actually be floating around on social media.

    However, there are still ways to help you or someone in your family from becoming a victim of this scam. The best way is for your family you to set up a secret phrase or word with each other to use in case of any actual emergency. But, if you ever receive a call like this, it’s not going to hurt anyone to hang up and try to contact your family to make sure the grandchild is actually ok. Nobody arrested ever got extra jail time because a grandparent wanted to verify their story.

    Again, we ask that if you have an older family member who may not be up on the latest technology, please share this blog post with them or show them any one of the many articles about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 22, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bail bondsman, , grandparent scam,   

    Are scammers knocking on your grandparent’s door? 

    By Greg Collier

    We’re about to discuss a twist on the grandparent scam we’ve discussed before, but we think it bears repeating.

    For those who may not know, the grandparent scam is when a scammer targets an elderly victim with the purpose of defrauding them by calling the victim on the phone and claiming that one of their grandchildren is in jail and needs money for bail and legal fees. Historically, the scammers have posed as the grandchildren themselves, but as people became wise to the scam, the scammers started posing as lawyers and police. The scammers also tell their victims not to tell anyone about what’s going on, either as the grandchild not wanting the rest of the family to know or under threat of a bogus gag order by police.

    In the past, these grandparent scammers would have their victims send the phony bail money through a money transfer service like MoneyGram or through gift cards. More recently, the scammers have been sending people to the victims’ homes to collect the money personally. We have seen reports where scammers have sent unwitting Uber drivers to pick up the money, or the scammers have gone to the home themselves disguised as couriers. Recently, in Massachusetts, police have reported that the scammers are showing up at victim’s homes claiming to be bail bondsmen. After the fake bondsmen was given close to $13,000 by a victim, the scammer made the motions of making a phone call to a judge and said that the victim’s family member was on their way to being released. The family member used by these scammers was never really in any legal trouble.

    If you ever receive one of these calls, the first thing to remember is to not give out any family names to the caller. However, that may not be enough if the scammer has been tracking you through social media. What you can do is hang up and verify the relative’s whereabouts. No one has ever gotten extra jail time for a family member who wanted to check the veracity of the story. Also, bondsmen never come out to a house to collect bond money. You have to go to them, and they won’t call a judge in front of you.

    If you have any elderly family or friends who may not be aware of this scam, please share this post with them or any one of the news articles out there about it.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: banks, , grandparent scam, ,   

    Should banks be held responsible when the elderly are scammed? 

    Should banks be held responsible when the elderly are scammed?

    By Greg Collier

    An interesting legal issue has arisen in Florida, and it deals with one of the more common scams, where the elderly are usually the targets. Of course, we’re talking about the grandparent scam where scammers call the elderly to tell them that one of their grandchildren is in trouble, and they need money. This scam has claimed far too many elderly victims. However, there have been instances where banks have intervened on their customer’s behalf. Some banks have trained their employees to ask their customers questions about large or frequent withdrawals if they believe the customer might be the victim of a scam. The issue at hand here is just how responsible banks should be when it comes to protecting their customers like this?

    An elderly woman in Tampa lost $700,000 to scammers who had convinced her that her granddaughter had been in a car accident and was in legal trouble. One of the scammers posed as her granddaughter and told the woman not to tell anyone else in the family. Another scammer got on the line posing as a local attorney. As most of these scams start out, the first request was for bail money. Then more requests came in stating that money needed to be paid to the people who were supposedly injured in the accident.

    This resulted in 13 withdrawals from her bank. In some instances, the victim was instructed to leave packages of cash for couriers to pick up. The bank did ask why the woman was withdrawing so much money, but she told the bank she was renovating her home and paying a contractor who preferred to be paid in cash. This is what the scammers told her to tell the bank if they started asking questions. It’s been reported that someone did call the state’s abuse hotline, but the woman was allowed to keep withdrawing large sums of cash after the call was made.

    The victim has since sued the bank for negligence. So what do you think? Did the bank do its due diligence, or should they even be required to do so? Or is this just an unfortunate collision of coincidences that allowed the scammers to prosper?

     
    • Wally 9:54 pm on October 20, 2021 Permalink

      I’m on the fence with this. I worked for a small bank for 8 years and really enjoyed my customers. However, one challenge that you always are scammers trying to customer’s money. Some people come into the back saying they need to withdraw X amount or do cashier’s checks to send people they don’t know.

      As a previous banker I would always ask multiple times why they are sending the money and to whom and try to deter them as much as possible and even get managers involved. Some customers [not all] will realize that it’s a scam while others will question you as the banker why you won’t give them their money so they can do what they want. I truly feel really sorry for anyone who is scammed out of their hard earned money. I have sometime refused to handle many transactions if a client refuses to take our advise.

      Banking is becoming more and more riskier everyday and I have seen it cripple some banks wit the losses they have suffer being in some installs they may have to reimburse their clients up to FDIC limits. But again, I think it’s TERRIBLE for the elderly or anyone to be scammed.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 23, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    Don’t answer this question from grandparent scammers! 

    Don't answer this question from grandparent scammers

    By Greg Collier

    Several counties in Upstate New York have reported an increase in the number of grandparent scams that are happening in their area. The grandparent scam is probably one of the most prevalent scams going today and often targets elderly individuals who are living alone, taking them for sometimes thousands of dollars at a time.

    You may well be familiar with the grandparent scam since we discuss it so often, but for new readers, here is a quick recap. This is when scammers will pose as the victim’s grandchild, claiming that they’re in some kind of legal trouble and need money sent to them right away. Usually, the claim is that the grandchild is in jail and needs bail money. IN variations of the scam, scammers will pose as bail bondsmen or police officers. Payment will be asked for, usually in cash or gift cards, since they’re virtually untraceable.

    The news report from New York goes over the usual steps on how to prevent falling for the grandparent scam, such as having a family code word or asking the supposed grandchild a question only they would know. However, the article also gave us one more way of protecting yourself, and it’s a simple one. Often, but not always, the scammer will open the phone call with “Do you know who this is?”. This way, they’re hoping that the victim volunteers the name of a grandchild. Then, the scammers can use the grandchild’s name to establish a fake emotional bond between the scammer and the victim.

    Still, the best way to prevent an elderly friend or relative from falling victim to the grandparent scam is education. If you know someone who may be vulnerable to such a scam, please consider sharing this blog post with them or any one of the news articles that have reported on it.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 4, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , grandparent scam, ,   

    Pair arrested for string of grandparent scams 

    By Greg Collier

    When the grandparent scam first became prevalent, the scammers were satisfied with just getting their victims to pay through gift cards or money transfers. Then the scammers started using unwitting ride-share drivers as couriers to pick up payments directly from the victims. Then the scammers themselves did away with all the middle men and started collecting the payments on their own. However, that presents its own problem as it allows police to arrest these scammers at the victim’s home, as one pair of alleged scammers recently found out.

    Quickly, just for context, the grandparent scam is when a scammer calls an elderly victim and tells them that one of their grandchildren is in jail and needs money for bond. In reality, the grandchild is fine and is unaware of what’s being done in their name.

    A pair of alleged grandparent scammers from Georgia were recently arrested in Oklahoma. According to police, the pair had targeted several elderly victims in their scheme. They probably would have more victims if not for the intervention of a bank employee. The scammers had targeted an elderly man and told him his nephew was in jail. They also told the man that after he got the money, he needed to wait for a bondsman to come collect the money. The man went to his bank to withdraw $15,000, but the bank was concerned the man may be a victim of a scam. The bank asked the man a few questions and determined he was being scammed and called police. Police arrested the ‘bondsman’ who turned out to be the scammer himself. His cohort who claimed to be a ‘currency trader’ to police was also arrested as part of the plot.

    The fact that scammers are showing up at the doors of elderly victims is quite concerning, especially if the victim lives alone. It never hurts to verify the story that someone on the phone is claiming. If you think your relative may be in jail, they won’t get in any further trouble if you hang up and verify the story being given to you. Also keep in mind that bail bondsmen don’t come to you. You have to go to them if you need to post bond for someone.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , grandparent scam,   

    Grandparent scam now spreading to other relatives 

    By Greg Collier

    If you were worried about your grandparents becoming the victim of the grandparent scam, you may now have to worry about your aunts and uncles too. Long-time readers will be well familiar with this scam. It’s when a scammer typically calls an elderly person and poses as one of their grandchildren. The fake grandchild says they’re in some kind of legal trouble and need money for bail or some similar fine or fee. The fake grandchild will then ask the victim not to tell anyone else in the family because of embarrassment, but in reality it’s to keep the victim isolated from their family, so the victim won’t know they’re being scammed. Now, it seems that the scammers have branched out from grandparents and are now contacting other family members as well.

    This recently happened to a woman in Middletown, Connecticut. She received a phone call from someone claiming to be her nephew. As expected, the fake nephew claimed to have been in a car accident and now is in jail. The nephew then said he sounded different because of an injury received in the accident. Scammers will typically claim a broken nose as the cause of the mismatched voice.

    The ‘nephew’ then gave the phone number to his supposed public defender. The woman called the public defender who instructed her that she needed to pay $9500 for her nephew’s bail and that a courier would be by to pick up the money. It wasn’t until after the woman paid the courier before she felt like she was being scammed. She called her family and found out that her nephew was not in jail. The woman called local police and while police were at her home the scammers called back asking for $10,000 more. With the police there, she waited for the courier, who was arrested on the spot. The courier allegedly tried claiming that she was there to pick up money from a friend’s aunt’s house.

    So, let your family know that it’s not just grandparents that have to look out for this scam. It seems now that any older relative can be targeted in this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 7, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: car crash, grandparent scam, ,   

    Grandparent scammers are raising the stakes 

    Grandparent scammers are raising the stakes

    By Greg Collier

    It seems that the grandparent scam is the one scam we discuss the most lately. That’s mostly due to the number of variations of the scam that con artists use to make the scam seem more legitimate. In your basic grandparent scam, a scammer will call an elderly victim and pretend to be one of their grandchildren who are in some kind of trouble with the law and need bail money. In other versions of the scam, the scammers will pose as someone in a position of authority such as a police officer or bail bondsman while telling the victim their grandchild is in trouble. And in other cases, you’ll have scammers who pose as both.

    A man in Tennessee almost fell for a grandparent scam. At first, he received a call from someone posing as his granddaughter. She was even able to give the man his granddaughter’s full name. The scammer claimed that she had been in a car accident and was now in jail and needed the prerequisite bail money. The man was then instructed to call a ‘lawyer’ at a New York phone number. The phony lawyer told the man that his granddaughter killed a pregnant woman in the car accident. So it seems that the scammers have graduated from phony car crashes to phony vehicular homicide in order to increase the emotional pressure they place on the victims. Luckily, the man’s granddaughter came home before he could send the scammers any money.

    As usual, our advice in these situations is to verify the situation. The scammer will tell you not to tell anyone else in the family, but that’s to keep family members from interfering in the scam. After the call, try to call the person who’s supposedly in jail. You can also call the police department where the person is supposedly being held. No one that’s been arrested is going to get in more trouble if you take the time to verify their story.

    Also, if you have an elderly relative that may not be aware of this cam, please share this post with them or any of the number of stories out there about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: elder scam, grandparent scam, , ,   

    When scammers come back for more 

    When scammers come back for more

    By Greg Collier

    There are many truths when it comes to scammers. For this particular story, we’re going to be focusing on two. The first is that scammers tend to target the elderly when it comes to many scams. The scammers feel that elderly individuals are not tech-savvy enough to see through many of their scams. That and the fact that many seniors live alone and don’t have anyone in their home to warn them that whatever it is, it might be a scam. The second truth is that once someone has fallen victim to a scam, there’s a good chance the scammers will try to victimize them again.

    Recently, a man from Upstate New York, had fallen victim to an elder scam. The report doesn’t say which scam he fell for, but if we had to hazard a guess, it was probably the grandparent scam, or maybe the tech support scam. Either way, the man almost assuredly lost a substantial amount of money. Then he received another phone call. This mystery caller said he knew who initially scammed the man. All the man had to do was pay the caller $6000 and the caller would hand over the information. As they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The man contacted local police, who arranged a meeting with the caller and arrested him. Again, while the report doesn’t go into further detail, it’s a safe bet that this man allegedly had something to do with the initial scam.

    There is no shame in admitting you’ve been a victim of a scam. It happens to almost everybody at one time or another. They can range for paying someone $20 to cut your lawn, and they never come back, or it can result in major financial loss. Either way, if you do lose money in a scam, it will help others if you come forward to police. This way, police can be on the lookout for the scam and arrest any possible con artists.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    How one grandparent scam worked 

    By Greg Collier

    Three people from the East Coast were recently arrested in Tennessee for allegedly running a grandparent scam ring. Their arrests give us an insight into one of the ways the grandparent scam works in taking advantage of senior citizens. In a nutshell, the grandparent scam is when a scammer calls an elderly person posing as one of their grandchildren. The fake grandchild will say they’re in some kind of trouble and need money, and will instruct the victim not to tell anyone else. This is the basic premise of the grandparent scam, but as we’re about to find out, there are different variations of the heart of the scam.

    The three suspects who were arrested in Tennessee are all said to have traveled from the East Coast. This leads us to believe that they may have traveled from region to region committing scams along the way, as many scam rings do. Instead of posing as the victims’ grandchildren, these scammers were said to pose as bail bond agents. They would then say that one of the victims grandchildren had been arrested and needed bond money. The local police who arrested the suspects said that the suspects were very methodical in studying their victims to where they actually knew the grandchildren’s names. The scammers are said to even have acted as their own couriers, going to pick up the money from the victims themselves. Some victims came forward to police, which is what is believed to have led to the suspects’ arrests.

    While the police said that the scammers were methodical in researching their victims, it’s not hard to imagine where the scammers got their information. More than likely, they gleamed their information from social media. It’s natural for people to be proud of their relatives and share that information, however, that information is often made public online and can be used in scams like this. You may want to think about making your social media profiles set to friends or family only.

    If you do receive a phone call like this, don’t react right away. If your grandchild were to be in some kind of legal trouble, they’re not going to be in more trouble if you verify their story. Also, while it may be difficult in the moment, try not to give out any of your grandchildren’s names on the call. If the caller says “Grandma”, ask who it is first. Often these scammers don’t have your grandchild’s name. Call other family members or the person directly to make sure they’re ok, then contact your local police.

     
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