Crime alert for grand­par­ents

Cecil Whig - - & & -

There is a very real and very ter­ri­ble scam hap­pen­ing in the U.S. in which con artists are tar­get­ing and scam­ming money from grand­par­ents.

It be­gins with some­thing most grand­par­ents want more of: a phone call from a grand­child, or so they think. The caller pre­tends to be in dis­tress about some­thing; he’s been hurt in a car ac­ci­dent or ar­rested or got­ten in some kind of trou­ble, and he needs money — fast.

The grand­par­ents are asked to pur­chase pre­paid money cards, which are com­monly avail­able at gro­cery stores and con­ve­nience stores. Once they pur­chase the cards and put money on them, the scam­mer in­structs them to pro­vide the multi-digit code on the back. Then, they can go online and drain the funds.

Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mike DeWine has of­fered the fol­low­ing tips for con­sumers to pro­tect them­selves from the grand­par­ent scam:

— “Talk to your fam­ily about these scams and dis­cuss how you would com­mu­ni­cate dur­ing a true emer­gency.”

— “If you get a call from a grand­child or other fam­ily mem­ber who claims to be in trou­ble, ask ques­tions only your real fam­ily mem­bers would know how to an­swer.”

— “Don’t send money via wire trans­fer or pre­paid card in re­sponse to an un­ex­pected phone call. These are pre­ferred pay­ment meth­ods of scam­mers be­cause they are dif­fi­cult to trace or re­cover once pay­ment is pro­vided.”

“Limit the amount of in­for­ma­tion you post online and limit who can view your in­for­ma­tion. For ex­am­ple, don’t post up­com­ing travel plans online, be­cause scam­mers could use that in­for­ma­tion to take ad­van­tage of your fam­ily.”

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