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  • 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: , 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.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: grandparent scam, , , , , ,   

    Summer vacation is scam season 

    Summer vacation is scam season

    By Greg Collier

    With the weather getting warmer and more pandemic restrictions being lifted, many families are looking to book vacations for the summer to make up for the time lost last year. However, traveling away from home can open consumers to a number of different scams they need to look out for. We’ve already discussed the rental car scam that is happening due to the rental car shortage. Now, warnings are going out about several scams that are related to vacation travel.

    The Better Business Bureau has put out a warning about various hotel scams. Since lodging is your home away from home during your vacation, it’s imperative to keep an eye out for these scams. According to the BBB, you should be aware of fake food delivery services. Scammers are said to distribute fake menus to hotels. When you call the number listed on the fake menu you’ll be directed to scammers who will take down your credit or debit card information and use it for their own purposes. Check with the front desk or look online to make sure the restaurant actually exists.

    Another popular hotel scam is when scammers will call your room posing as the front desk. The scammers will say that there is an issue with the card that was used at the front desk. Of course, they’ll ask you to verify your card number, which again will be used for theft. A hotel should never do this and will have patrons settle any billing issues at check out.

    Another problem that vacationers are facing is dealing with timeshares. Many people tried to get out of their timeshares over the last year due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, many people fell victims to scammers who promise to help get consumers out of their timeshare agreements. It’s been suggested that if you deal with your timeshare company directly, it will be cheaper to get out of your timeshare than hiring someone to do it who may not do anything after being paid.

    Lastly, the grandparent scam picks up during the summer months. With so many people being away from home, it’s easier to convince someone that a loved one is missing. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a loved one who’s in some kind of dire trouble, and they ask for money, that call could be nothing more than a scam.

    Hopefully, you can now have an even better vacation now that you know some of the scams to look out for.

     
  • 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: , 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.

     
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