Grandparent scam targets seniors - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Grandparent scam targets seniors

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Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:00 pm

A Sun City West man is out $1,500 after being victimized by the so-called “grandparent scam.”

The man, who did not want to be named, received a call Tuesday morning from his “granddaughter,” who was in a Canadian jail and needed to be bailed out.

The Sun City West resident talked to a man who claimed to be a police officer, who directed him to a local Western Union office and suggested he go there to wire bail money.

Officials from the Arizona Attorney General said these scams usually involve the fraud artist calling a grandparent, claiming to be their grandchild in some sort of urgent situation, such as a car accident or in jail, as in this case, and in need of money immediately.

In a 2008 press release, the Attorney General’s office explained that the caller may say something like, “Grandma, I am so glad I reached you” or “Grandpa, it’s me, your favorite grandchild calling.” The caller waits for the grandparent to respond with something like, “Jimmy, is that you?” before asking for the money be sent via money order or through a wire service such as MoneyGram or Western Union. 

To avoid this type of scam, the Attorney General’s office recommends verifying your family member’s whereabouts by directly calling another family member or the grandchild directly with a familiar number. Do not call the phone number provided by the scam artist. 

Also, be careful to not fill in the blanks for the caller and instead ask questions, like which grandchild is calling.

Never give out personal, identifying information, such as bank account or credit card account numbers, to anyone you do not know and never send money to an unknown account or entity. 

If you believe you have been a victim of this or other scams, contact the Attorney  General’s office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763. To file a complaint in person, the Attorney General’s Office has satellite offices throughout the state with volunteers available to help.

Locations and hours of operation are posted on the Attorney General’s website. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting www.azag.gov.

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