July 2012 Newsletter-- A scam targeting seniors has been around for years, and as the economy worsens, so does this scam's severity. Some in desperate situations, are willing to do whatever it takes to get by, even if that means taking advantage of the elderly. Smooth-talking and convincing scam artists have been deceiving loving and caring grandparents, conning them out of money, savings and security.
The scam often starts out with a call from a "grandchild," who claims to be in some sort of imminent financial predicament. The caller proceeds to ask the grandparent for an emergency loan to get out of the trouble. The stories could range from being arrested in another country to being in a severe car accident. The scammer often asks the grandparent not to tell other relatives as to not worry family members.
The grandparent scam preys on older citizens who are unfamiliar with technology and finance. To avoid being scammed, resist the urge to act quickly and once the call ends, be sure to contact and locate the grandchild or another family member in order to decide whether the call is real or a hoax. Finally, never wire money. Wiring money is like handing over cash with out a receipt. Once the money is sent, it is gone forever.
If you suspect you or a senior you know have been victimized, immediately contact local authorities or the Oregon State Consumer Protection Agency. If you are looking for a specific complaint, file one with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), who will forward the complaint to the appropriate agency. It is also very important to call the money transfer company immediately to file a complaint and report the fraud. Another good way to file a complaint is through the
Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357. If the wire transfer went through to Canada report fraud to the Phone Busters hotline by calling 1-888-495-8501. Filing a complaint is important because the more this scam is out in the open, the more attention it will get.