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 Grandparent Scam makes local news.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Here is the article copied and pasted from

"Grandparent Scam" costs San Diego couple $12,000
By Kristina Davis

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego couple lost more than $12,000 over the weekend in what they described to investigators as “36 hours of hell” thinking that their nephew was jailed in Mexico.
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The couple, whose names were not released, later learned they’d fallen prey to the “Grandparent Scam,” a widespread hoax in which callers pretend to be family members who have gotten into trouble while traveling abroad and need money to help get them out of the situation.

The scam usually targets senior citizens or grandparents, hence the name, according to the FBI.

The couple got the first call Friday morning from a man identifying himself as their nephew. He told them he was being held by authorities in Mexico City because he’d been in a car accident and was being charged with driving without insurance, said FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth.

Then a woman got on the phone saying she was the nephew’s court-appointed attorney, and that the charges could be dropped if the couple paid $5,600 for damage to the car and property.

The couple wired the money to Mexico via Western Union.

The couple received a second call hours later from a person claiming to be a court clerk, Foxworth said. An additional $6,800 need to be wired for their nephew’s bail, or he would sit behind bars until September, she told them. So the couple sent the money.

The next day, a third call came in from someone claiming that a $2,200 hospital bill needed to be paid.

By this time, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico had returned the couple’s phone call asking for assistance for their nephew, and they were told of the “Grandparent Scam.”

But it wasn’t until they reached their real nephew that they were sure they were being scammed, Foxworth said.

They didn’t send the last payment, but they’d already lost $12,400.

The scam, which has also been traced to Canada, Jamaica and China, has targeted victims across the United States. In Oceanside, one victim paid $66,000 in a similar hoax, and in Carlsbad, someone sent $120,000, local authorities said.

The scam works because it pulls on the heartstrings, said San Diego police Detective Ferrell Layton, who gets two to three reports of similar scams each week.

“Not any one of us wouldn’t drop whatever we’re doing to help a family member in need,” Layton said.

Investigators suspect the scammers have become more sophisticated in researching their targets, likely using social networking sites such as Facebook to learn about family members who are abroad. Other times, the scammers just cold-call their targets and hope for the best.

The caller posing as the family member also will plead with the grandparent to not contact other relatives for fear of getting into trouble or worrying them, a tactic that helps isolate the victims into giving money.

Many of the scammers often make it sound as if the money needs to be sent urgently, but Layton warned not to fall for it. If someone actually is arrested or in the hospital, then there should be no such rush.

Unfortunately, once the money is gone, it’s gone for good. Layton said victims rarely get their money back.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Welcome to 419Eater jpaper007

Unfortunately this is a common and successful scam. People posting vacation plans and photos on social sites like Facebook make these scams possible.

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Raga Man
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This is similar to what happens when a scammer gains access to a victim's email account. They will send an email to everyone on the victim's contact list claiming to stranded and to wire money.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This is a good reason for those of us that can to ask Senior Centers if we can present a talk to "elders" on scammers and what to look for. We need to do all we can to help our elders as they are wanting to use the internet.

In another thread, Irishimmigrant talked about presentations to Senior Centers. Irish has a nice handout you can use.

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