Crime alert for grandparents
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.”