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State Police: 'Grandparent Scammers' Are at It Again

Some Ripley County grandparents found themselves scammed recently by the "Grandparent Scammers."

Sgt. Noel Houze, with Indiana State Police in Versailles, says this incident was very similar to incidents that have happened in the past.

He says the grandparents received a call and when they answered the young lady on the other end said, "This is your granddaughter." They responded by saying, "Is this _____?" The caller said yes and proceeded to tell them she was in Canada and had been arrested and needed $2,000 to bond out of jail. She then immediately begged them not to call her parents about the situation. The grandparents agreed to wire her the money.

A short time later she called back and said there had been some mix up and she needed more money. When the grandparents told her they couldn't send any more she said that was okay, she would try to work something out. After the grandparents thought about the situation for awhile, they called their son who told them his daughter was at home and had not been in Canada. At this point, the couple realized they had been scammed. Unfortunately, this isn't the first area couple to be scammed in this manner.

This scam and similar scams happen frequently and unfortunately, on too many occasions, they work. The scammers will do research to gather as much information about their targets (the grandparents) as possible to determine if they have grandchildren, the grandchildren's names and ages so when the make phone contact with the victim, they know what to say to convince the grandparents they are actually talking to one of their grandchildren. In almost every case they will claim they have been arrested in a foreign country and need money to bond out of jail. They also beg the grandparents not to call their parents.

Area residents, especially those who have grandchildren who are young adults, should be cautious if they receive a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. Many times the caller will be crying and appear to be very upset. This raises the anxiety levels of the grandparent who naturally wants to help their grandchild. It also enables the caller to disguise their voice somewhat so it does not arouse the suspicions of the grandparent. If you do receive one of these calls, do the following:

• Write down the number from your Caller ID and Google it. If told to call a certain number, Google that number too.

• VERIFY who you are talking to. Ask personal questions only the real "grandchild" would know the answers to.

• If told, "Don't tell Mom and Dad," BEWARE. After hanging up, call "Mom and Dad" anyway tell them of the call you just received.

Houze says you should not wire the money unless you are absolutely certain the caller is actually who they say they are. If the money is wired to a location in the United States, the chances of getting it back and actually being able to locate and prosecute the scammers are very slim. If the money is wired out of the country, there is absolutely nothing U.S. law enforcement can do.

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:08:29 AM

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