Beware of phone “Granny Scam”
Canadian phone scam targets eldery; making rounds again
There are scams of all types threatening to take money away from unsuspected and gullible individuals across the spectrum. From low-end scams on the streets of America – to billion dollar Ponzi schemes that devastate families and ruin life savings.
Hoboken411 reader Dharma1129 recently had a family member almost conned out of thousands – and wants to share with everyone possible his “granny scam” that has been making rounds since 2007:
“My dad just received a phone from someone who said they were from the Quebec, Canada police department and they had my son in custody.
They put someone pretending to be my son on the phone, who started crying to my dad and asking him to “send 2,800 for bail and to please not tell my mom.” My father was so nervous, he thought it really was my son. He called me and I told him my son was here with me. I called the number and they said they were a law office. When I told the man, I was the mother, why was he lying, he hung up on me. I called the Hoboken Police and Quebec Police Department they said this is a new scam, where people can look up your information, and relatives and then call and ask for money claiming the grandchildren need help. The number they called me from is 1-514-967-6271. Please warn everyone. They target older people the Police said.”
MSNBC’s Herb Weisbaum “ConsumerMan,” ran a story about this very scam a couple years ago:
“Telephone scammers in Canada love Americans. They also have found that some of us are incredibly easy to fool. If they can concoct a convincing story, they can get people to send them thousands of dollars.
“We’ve always known con artists will stop at nothing to rip off their victims,” says Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. “This may be a low point – stealing from seniors by posing as a family member.”
With the “grandparent scam” the caller pretends to be a grandchild in trouble in Canada who needs money immediately. The caller often says he’s been arrested, was in a car accident or had some type of medical emergency.”
Tips to pass on to your parents or grandparents:
- Don’t fill in the blanks. If the caller says, “It’s your grandson,” respond with “Which one?” Most likely, the perpetrator will hang up.
- Verify the caller. Always confirm your grandchild’s identity by saying you will return the call at his or her home or on his cell phone (but don’t ask the caller for it). If you don’t have your grandchildren’s phone numbers, contact a trusted family member for them.
- Be mum on account numbers. Never provide your bank or credit-card account numbers to any caller, even someone claiming to be from your bank – regardless of the reason.
- Be suspicious of requests for money wires.
- Report it. If your “grandchild” calls requesting money, go to the Attorney General’s Web site at www.nj.gov/lps, or call the elder fraud hotline at the Division of Consumer affairs: 877-746-7850.