FBI: Grandparent Scam is going around. Don’t let it happen to you
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The so-called "grandparent scam" is making its way around southern Illinois, according to an FBI news release.
· A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a "grandchild." If it is a phone call, it's often late at night or early in the morning when most people aren't thinking that clearly. Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident, or being mugged…and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn't want his or her parents told.
· Sometimes, instead of the "grandchild" making the phone call, the criminal pretends to be an arresting police officer, a lawyer, a doctor at a hospital, or some other person. And we've also received complaints about the phony grandchild talking first and then handing the phone over to an accomplice…to further spin the fake tale.
· We've also seen military families victimized: after perusing a soldier's social networking site, a con artist will contact the soldier's grandparents, sometimes claiming that a problem came up during military leave that requires money to address.
· While it's commonly called the grandparent scam, criminals may also claim to be a family friend, a niece or nephew, or another family member.
FBI's advice to avoid being victimized in the first place:
· Resist the pressure to act quickly.
· Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
· Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail...especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash-once you send it, you can't get it back.