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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 16, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, nurse practitioner,   

    Medical professional charged in grandparent scam 

    Medical professional charged in grandparent scam

    By Greg Collier

    In South Florida, the demand for cosmetic procedures like Botox injections can command a substantial price tag. We’re pretty certain that the medical professionals who provide these services are paid handsomely. That’s why it was somewhat surprising to hear this story about a cosmetic medial professional who was arrested for allegedly participating in a grandparent scam ring.

    The person arrested was a 31-year-old Nurse Practitioner who practices at a premier medical spa that specializes in cosmetic procedures. She is said to have taken close to $50,000 from only two victims of the scam. In both cases the alleged scammer is believed to have called both victims and claimed that a relative of the victims had been involved in an accident. We haven’t read what pitch the Nurse Practitioner used in her scam, but usually the scammers either ask for bail money or money for medical expenses that have resulted from the fictitious accident.

    In one of the instances, the Nurse Practitioner is said to have had $20,000 wired from a victim directly into her bank account. The victim reported the scam to their bank and an investigation began. When a bank investigator confronted the Nurse Practitioner about it, the NP claimed that the money was from a friend who paid the money for a Super Bowl party. When the bank investigator told her that the transfer may have been fraudulent, the NP reportedly replied with “How is that my problem?”

    When we think of scammers like this, we tend to think of scammers from overseas who participate in a complete scamming industry. However, this story shows that scammers can be from just about anywhere and have any type of economic status. Not only that, but this story also shows to just what lengths scammers will go to, so they can keep their ill-gotten gains.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 30, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    Nationwide grandparent scam foiled 

    Nationwide grandparent scam foiled

    By Greg Collier

    Whenever we talk about scams, we usually talk about two things, the scam itself, and how to protect yourself from the scam. However, every so often we talk about the inner workings of a particular scam. For example, we discussed how gift card scammers used runners to drain the cards quickly. Today, we have an insight to another popular scam that’s seen a sharp rise in the past year. That would be the grandparent scam.

    Again, for those who may be new readers, the grandparent scam is when scammers will pose as an elderly victim’s grandchild. They’ll say that they’ve gotten into some kind of legal trouble and need money to rectify the situation. Requests for bail money are usually the more popular versions of the scam, although requests for emergency medical expenses are a close second. The scammers will often ask for payment in some kind of untraceable form like gift cards or money transfers, but one scam ring got very creative in getting their stolen money.

    One scam ring based out of Georgia that consisted of several people were arrested after allegedly trying to collect money they scammed out of some unwitting victim. They’re accused of traveling from city to city finding victims only to have them send cash to unoccupied homes. The scammers would then drive buy the homes and grab the packages off the porches. This particular ring was said to have traveled to Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Ohio. They were caught trying to get one of the packages from an Indiana porch where police were waiting for them.

    If the scammers had put this much effort into something beneficial instead of a nationwide scam, they’d probably be just as successful and not have to worry about a potential jail sentence.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam, , under oath   

    Grandparent scam claims victim is ‘under oath’ 

    Grandparent scam claims victim is 'under oath'

    By Greg Collier

    Scammers love to victimize the elderly. Even though reports say that more young people are increasingly vulnerable to scams, seniors seem to remain to be the scammers’ favorite target. One theory is that scammers target the elderly because their generation still answers the phone no matter who may be calling. That’s how their generation lived after all. Unfortunately, this has made them vulnerable to scams, especially the grandparent scam.

    As many of you know, the grandparent scam is where the scammers will pose as an elderly victim’s grandchild. They’ll say that they’ve gotten into some kind of legal trouble and need money to rectify the situation. Requests for bail money are usually the more popular versions of the scam. Scammers are constantly fine-tuning the grandparent scam in order to maximize the number of victims they can prey on.

    For example, a woman in Illinois was told by someone posing as her grandson that the grandson needed $5,000 to get out jail. The phony grandson said that he had gotten into an accident with a diplomat in St. Louis. When the woman said that the caller didn’t sound like her grandson they said that he hurt his neck and couldn’t talk right. Then another person got on the call claiming to be a lawyer. He told the woman that she was ‘under oath’ and not to tell anyone.

    Thankfully, employees at her bank inquired why she was withdrawing such a large amount of money and were able to stop her from becoming another victims. They called the real grandson who was actually in no danger.

    While it may sound official, no one can put you ‘under oath’ over the phone. Being under oath only applies to court proceedings and even then you have to agree to it.

    And as we always recommend, if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies, so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    When the grandparent scam meets virtual kidnappings 

    By Greg Collier

    We love it when scammers get extra creative and combine two scams into one new super-scam. And by love it we actually mean we despise it. At least one creative scammer has combine two of the more disturbing scams, making it an almost infallible scam. Not to heap any more ‘praise’ on this scammer, but they could potentially be the super villain of scam artists.

    This particular scammer combined the grandparent scam along with the virtual kidnapping scam. The grandparent scam is more well-known. This is where scammers call elderly victims and pose as a grandchild who is looking for some kind of emergency money. Usually, it’s supposed to be for bail money, but scammers have used various stories to try to get money from their victims.

    The virtual kidnapping scam is even more distressing for its victims. This is where scammers will have claimed to have kidnapped one of the victim’s family members. They’ll pressure the victim to keep them on the phone while trying to get them to make a phony ransom payment usually through gift cards or money transfers. Meanwhile, the supposed kidnap victim is actually safe and sound.

    This scammer targeted an elderly woman from Alabama. The scammer told the woman that they had her granddaughter hostage because she witnessed a drug deal. The scammer also told her that he was watching her every move. He then instructed her to make a money transfer to Mexico at Walmart. Even though the woman thought the threat was real she did two things that probably saved her from losing substantial amounts of money.

    She first tried to locate her granddaughter, and when she couldn’t, she contacted her local police. The woman even bravely stood up to the scammers telling them to bring her granddaughter to the Walmart if they have her. Luck was even more on the woman’s side when the money transfer service at Walmart was down.

    In the case of either scam or the new super-scam, your best bet is to try to locate the person who the caller is claiming is in trouble. While a grandchild could potentially have ended up in jail, nothing says that you can’t verify their story. Your grandchild won’t be in more trouble if you do. And as we always like to say about the virtual kidnapping scam, kidnappings for ransom are very rare in the US and the scammers are preying on people’s fears about what they see in entertainment.

    Always take a step back from the situation for a moment and try to regain your composure when dealing with these scammers. Also, never volunteer any information like a loved one’s name as scammers will be quick to use that to their advantage.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 12, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grandparent scam, ,   

    Grandparent scam still sending strangers to your door 

    Grandparent scam still sending strangers to your door

    The grandparent scam is terrifying enough as it is. It preys on the elderly and convinces them that a family member is in grave danger. Then if the scam is successful, it can take thousands of dollars that an elderly person needs to survive. That’s not even taking into account the embarrassment victims often feel after being scammed. In recent times, scammers have even sent strangers to victims’ homes to pick up the money that the victims think is getting their loved one out of trouble. Such a thing just happened to an elderly couple in Michigan.

    The couple received a call from someone claiming to be their granddaughter. She said that she had been arrested after a vehicular accident. The impersonator then instructed the couple to call a friend’s father who happened to be a lawyer. When the couple called the supposed lawyer, they were told their granddaughter was in serious trouble and would $12,000 for bail. The phony attorney then sent a ‘courier’ to collect the money. The next day the lawyer called back saying he needed an additional $14,000. Thankfully, the actual granddaughter showed up before they lost any more money.

    These couriers that the scammers send could literally be anybody. They could just be an unwitting participant, or they could be the scammer themselves. At best, you’re ‘just’ losing money to the scammer. At worst, they could be someone who is scouting out the home for a possible burglary or worse. If you’ve already given the scammer money, they could always come back and try to get more, or your valuables.

    As always, it is recommended that if you receive a call like this to contact the person first who is supposedly in trouble. If you can’t contact them, you can always call the police department where they’re supposedly being held, and they should be able to tell you if this is a scam or not.

    And as we always recommend, if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies, so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bail bonds scam, grandparent scam, ,   

    Bail bondsman scam has familiar ring 

    Bail bondsman scam has familiar ring

    If you’ve ever had to deal with a bail bondsman, it can be a harrowing experience. Not because of the bail bonds office but for the fact that you’re unexpectedly trying to bail a loved one out of jail. Not everyone is familiar with the experience which can lead to people being taken advantage of by scammers claiming to be a bail bondsman.

    First off, let’s clarify what a bail bondsman does. If you’ve been arrested, the arraigning judge will set a bail amount to guarantee that you’ll appear in court. If you can afford your bail the bail amount will be returned to you after you appear in court. If you can’t afford your bail, you may obtain the services of a bail bondsman. The bondsman will usually ask for around 10%-15% of your bail in a non-refundable fee. They will then put up their money to the court to allow you to be released.

    Here’s the thing though. If you or a loved one has been arrested. You have to approach the bail bondsman yourself. A bail bondsman will not call you out of the blue to tell you that a loved one has been arrested. That’s what’s been happening in Washington County, Maryland. Residents there have been receiving phone calls from scammers posing as a bail bondsman. The scammers will say that a loved one has been arrested and will try to get the victim to make some kind of payment over the phone. If a victim makes a payment, the scammers then call back seeking additional payments to have the victim’s loved one released. In some cases, these phony bail bondsmen have sent people to the victim’s home to collect the money.

    If this sounds a lot like the grandparent scam to you, it is incredibly similar. In the grandparent scam, the scammer will target an elderly victim and claim to be one of the victim’s grandchildren who has been arrested. The scammers will then also ask for some kind of payment over the phone.

    If you receive one of these phone calls from someone claiming to be a bail bondsman, hang up. Then call the person that the caller claims has been arrested. If they have been arrested, a legitimate bail bondsman can not accept payment over the phone. You would have to visit them at their office not only to make payment but to sign contracts.

    Another red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer is if they ask for payment in non-traditional means like gift cards, prepaid debit cards, money transfers, and the like.

    Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a situation like this. But if you do, now you’re better prepared.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam, , ,   

    Police dispatcher foils grandparent scam 

    Police dispatcher foils grandparent scam

    In recent times, we’ve posted about how scammers are upping their game so to speak when it comes to grandparent scams. As you may know, the grandparent scam specifically targets the elderly as the name implies. The scammer will pose as one of the victim’s grandchildren and claim that they need money for bail or some other kind of emergency. They’ll ask the victims not to say anything to the rest of the family.

    Since the grandparent scam has become prevalent, we’ve seen stories of scammers sending someone to the victim’s home to collect the money, scammers keeping their victims from hanging up the phone, and scammers claiming there is a gag order in place to prevent the victim from talking to relatives. Now, at least one scammer has tried to get local police involved to convince the victim that they were a grandchild.

    In Falmouth, Maine, a police dispatcher was able to thwart one of these instances. The scammer is said to have called police claiming to be a relative of an elderly resident. The scammer asked police to check in on the woman since they had not heard from them in a while. This type of call is not unheard of by police as many people will ask police to conduct a welfare check. The thought here is that if actual police visit the victim’s home, the victim will believe the scammer is actually one of their grandchildren. Luckily, the dispatcher personally knew the victim in this instance. The dispatcher was able to ask the scammer questions that only a family member would know before the scammer’s story started to fall apart.

    While the dispatcher is to be commended, we can’t all have personal friends at the police department looking out for us. As with any grandparent scam. never let the caller keep you on the phone. Always reach out to someone who knows the grandchild’s whereabouts or call the grandchild directly. Reach out to family even if the caller says not to. Even if the call is real no one is going to be sentenced to life in prison if you hang up on the phone call from the supposed grandchild.

    If you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam. Also, consider setting up a family password for just such emergencies so you can verify the person calling is who they say they are.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gag order, grandparent scam,   

    New type of threat used in grandparent scam 

    New type of threat used in grandparent scam

    Scams are almost like their own form of life. They are constantly evolving to adapt to the warnings against them. For example, a scammer may try to keep their victim on the phone while the victim purchases gift cards or withdrawals money from the bank. The scammer will do this in order to tell the victim exactly what to say in case someone recognizes the scam. Scammers will use just about any tactic to pressure their victims into making a payment. Recently, the grandparent scam has seen a new tactic added to it to try to keep victims from notifying anyone.

    As you may know, the grandparent scam specifically targets the elderly as the name implies. The scammer will pose as one of the victim’s grandchildren and claim that they need money for bail or some other kind of emergency. They’ll ask the victims not to say anything to the rest of the family. Sometimes the scammers will pose as police demanding payment from the victim stating their grandchild committed some kind of crime.

    As more people become aware of the grandparent scam, the scammers will change their tactics in order to pressure future victims into staying silent. Recently, in the state of New Hampshire, the Attorney General issued a warning about the grandparent scam. The New Hampshire AG stated that scammers are calling victims posing as police demanding payment and threatening the victim into not telling anyone by claiming the victim is now under a ‘legal gag order’.

    Legitimate gag orders are usually only issued to those involved with a court matter and are not issued by police. You can’t legally be placed under a gag order while trying to bail a loved one out of jail.

    If you receive a phone call like this or a similar one, don’t let the scammer pressure you into making any kind of payment without verifying their story. Hang up and make contact with the relative the scammers are claiming to be or with someone who will know the relative’s current location. You may also want to ask the person on the phone a question only the person they’re claiming to be would know. In either case, it’s recommended that you contact the actual police if you receive a call like this so they can inform the public.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam,   

    The true cost of the grandparent scam 

    The true cost of the grandparent scam

    We often talk about scams but usually not the scammers themselves. That’s because many scammers operate from overseas and are difficult to prosecute. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t domestic scammer because there are.

    Two men from Florida recently pleaded guilty to running a grandparent scam operation that netted them $1 million. As its name implies, the grandparent scam specifically targets the elderly. The scammer will call their victims and create a scenario where one of the victim’s grandchildren are in some kind of trouble. Typically, the scammers will pretend to be the grandchild and say that they need bail money. The scammers will then instruct their victims where they can send money, usually in some unorthodox form like gift cards.

    The two Florida men were said to have posed as police officers and lawyers to convince their victims to send them money. They would then have their victims send packages of cash to vacant properties in a number of states up and down the East Coast. Just between the two men, they were able to collect $1 million from 28 victims. That’s averages out to approximately $36,000 per victim. We’re sure that to many of those victims that money was probably their life savings. It just shows how relatively easy it is for just two scammers to amass seven figures like that.

    Both men are looking at 20-year sentences when they’re sentenced next year.

    Again, if you or someone you know receives one of these phone calls, it’s best to hang up and contact the person the scammers are claiming to be. Scammers will try to pressure you into staying on the line, however, if someone is truly in a legal jam, it’s not going to make matters worse if you make additional calls to verify their story.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , grandparent scam, , ,   

    COVID creating more scams for more money 

    COVID creating more scams for more money

    According to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, not only have scams increased during the pandemic but victims are losing more money than ever. Just last month, the Attorney General’s Office said that scam victims lost as much as 8000 times more than they did the year before. The rise in scams is being contributed to the fact that more people are at home and online during the pandemic. That can also lead to more victims posting about themselves on social media which gives scammers more information to use against you.

    The Attorney General’s Office says the three most common scams that have been happening during the pandemic are grandparent scams, work from home scams, and romance scams. Kentucky recently prosecuted a man who scammed a woman for over $200,000 in a romance scam. The scammer posed as a man in the military while asking his victims for money under the guise of a romantic relationship.

    We often see people acting incredulously saying things like “Who would ever fall for a scam like this.” Unfortunately, victims falling for scams happen more often than you might think with only a fraction of the victims ever coming forward. As we have said before, people from all economic and educational backgrounds have fallen for scammers in one way or another.

    When it comes to your money, always take the time to verify what someone online is telling you. Whether it’s for a job, a relative in jail, or a romantic interest, it never hurts to check everyone’s story. At the worst, it may result in some hurt feelings but at least you’ll still have your money in these tough economic times.

    If you find yourself having become a victim of one of these scammers, please think about coming forward to the authorities. While it may seem embarrassing at first, if more people come forward it will lessen the chance that someone else will become a victim in the future.

     
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