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Good People Getting Scammed Information

Dear Residents,

Here we are at number five of our Good People Getting Scammed newsletter article series. After the four previous articles we hope you are feeling better informed of the pitfalls of robocalls and sweepstake scams. By now you may have even had an opportunity to practice hanging up without speaking a single word!

This month we are learning about “Grandparent” Scams.

There are several variations of this scam. In the most common version, the victim will receive a call from someone claiming to be their grandson, saying he has been in an accident. The caller will instruct the victim to purchase iTunes gift cards to allegedly pay for medical treatment or property damage. After purchasing the iTunes card, the victim will be asked to read the numbers on the back of the cards to the person on the phone. This allows the scammer to steal the funds off the card.

In another version, the victim will receive a call from someone claiming to be their grandson with news that they have been arrested, usually outside the United States. They will say they need money for bail, or an appearance bond and/or additional money to pay a fine for negligence.

In yet a third version, instead of the “grandchild” making the phone call, the con artist will pretend to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer or doctor. It is common for the con artist impersonating the grandchild to talk briefly with the victim and then hand the phone over to an accomplice impersonating an authority figure. Because the exchange with the alleged grandchild is so brief, it will be difficult for the victim to recognize that the voice on the phone does not belong to their grandchild.

Although the grandparent scam is frightening, do not fall for it. Please hang up the phone and contact a family member who can help alleviate any concerns of your grandchildren’s well-being.

Resources for Grandparent Scams include:

Local/State Attorney General Office – http://www.naag.org/current-attorneys-general.php

FTC Consumer Response Center 1-877-382-4357 – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

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