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 So some scammers scared my grandparents half to death...

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alexmichaels
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Joined: 02 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 11:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi everyone, I'm not really new to this community but have not been here in a long time. However, a recent incident with my grandparents in Texas has sent me here for some advice.

My grandmother and grandfather recently received a panicked phone call from someone claiming to be me. Apparently I had been driving through South America with a college buddy and we had been stopped by Peruvian border police, and my friend was found to be in possession of a large amount of marijuana. According to "myself" and a "Peruvian official", I would be locked in a foreign prison for the next five years unless a bribe of $1635 was paid (by Western Union of course) within the next two hours. Fortunately, a Western Union employee suggested that they contact my parents first to see if I was really in Peru before any money was sent. The scammers called again afterwards, and my grandfather "had a few words with them" before they hung up on him. So no financial harm done, but both of my grandparents feel angry and humiliated over the event, and the experience nearly gave one of them a heart attack.

I have heard of this type of scam before, but never one that is done over the phone where someone is actually impersonating the relative in question, which means whoever did this at the very least can convincingly speak in an american accent.

So what I have now is the phone number of the con artists, which a quick google search tells me has a Montreal area code. If there is some way to make it harder for these people to do this to others, or at least annoy them, I'd appreciate the input (I already know about baiting safe).
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SlapHappy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to hear that your grandparents were frightened this way. Please go to our sister site, Scamwarners.com, and post all of the scammer's details there.
They are probably using a VOIP number, and it sound most likely to be Jamaican scammers from the sound of it, but could be from anywhere. Baiting these guys is impossible, as they will have redirected phone lines, fake name, and do not use emails.
Warning victims by posting details is most important in your case.

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Dorothy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Interestingly, while the more common lottery phone scams almost invariably originate in Jamaica, these "grandparent scams" (as well as some of the more organized advance-fee loan scams) actually tend to be run out of Canada, which also explains why the accent was not as big of an issue (and the Canadian phone number.)

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/22/retirement/grandparent-scams/index.html

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/national/Grandparent+scam+continues+bilk+savings+seniors+across/8494833/story.html

If your grandparents have not done so, they should report the attempted crime. The one good thing if it is Canadian in origin is that the odds are (a little) higher that some or all of the perpetrators will ultimately face charges.

It is also a good idea to take a quick look at what details are publicly posted on social networking sites (e.g. facebook pages, twitter) as there is a good chance that the criminals have used those sites to get the information needed to target them.

Some people have actually created a code word that the grandparents can ask for to verify that the caller is really their family member. This can be especially helpful if the grandparents have any hearing issues that might impact their ability to identify voices (or if the scammers try again, posing as the police or an attorney, both variants of the scam.) Basically if the caller can't provide the code word, they know that the caller is not you and has not been talking to you.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to see your relatives were targeted and I hope they will be fine after the scare. It is nice to read the the clerk actually recommended action first rather than just accepting their money.

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BearSeason
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This scam has been unfortunately rising in popularity, especially in the border states. I've met quite a few people in San Diego that have been targets or known people who have been targets. Glad to hear your grandparents didn't lose any money because of it.

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Big Al
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wonder if you can't give the phone number to Big-X for his phone chain?? Might be a good response to their tactics.
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Leka
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Big Al wrote:
I wonder if you can't give the phone number to Big-X for his phone chain?? Might be a good response to their tactics.


Would certainly confuse them.
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4X1X9
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

There is a similar scam targeting Nigerian nationals living abroad - they get a phone call from a 'doctor' claiming that a family member needs some life saving surgery but they need to pay for it via Western Union immediately. The script is different but essentially it plays on the same need to make a fast non-reversable money transfer before you have time to think things through logically.

Quote:
Fortunately, a Western Union employee suggested that they contact my parents first to see if I was really in Peru before any money was sent.


This is a good quote to keep for the monthly, 'Western Union don't do enough to stop scammers' thread.

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Leka
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

4X1X9 wrote:
There is a similar scam targeting Nigerian nationals living abroad - they get a phone call from a 'doctor' claiming that a family member needs some life saving surgery but they need to pay for it via Western Union immediately. The script is different but essentially it plays on the same need to make a fast non-reversable money transfer before you have time to think things through logically.

Quote:
Fortunately, a Western Union employee suggested that they contact my parents first to see if I was really in Peru before any money was sent.


This is a good quote to keep for the monthly, 'Western Union don't do enough to stop scammers' thread.


Apparently there is a scam targeting Somalis that involves a scammer pretending to be a long lost relative of some recent arrival. This doesn't neccessarily involve ripping of any money but gives the scamer a chance to move into a nicer country. And then to bring his family along.
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Big X
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Big Al wrote:
I wonder if you can't give the phone number to Big-X for his phone chain?? Might be a good response to their tactics.


If the number is in Canada, I can definitely flood it with calls from other scammers.

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oscarpiles
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Until I am Blue in the face I will say that my Mother went to WU with $5,000 cash to save her Grand Daughter but was stopped by an Employee who made her tea and called the Police.
This woman did not have to do this but she did and I will always remember her for it. Money? Who Cares? Really a bit of cash isn't the problem for my Mother but the whole scared to death thing is another ball of wax.

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alexmichaels
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Big X wrote:
Big Al wrote:
I wonder if you can't give the phone number to Big-X for his phone chain?? Might be a good response to their tactics.


If the number is in Canada, I can definitely flood it with calls from other scammers.



Is it okay to post the number of the scammers here? I'm not sure if there are any rules regarding phone numbers.
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oscarpiles
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:11 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^Just send Big X a PM and he will make sure the number is put to good use.

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alexmichaels
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Alright, pm sent.
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Big Al
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ Cool Beans, Have at them Big X!!
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Big X
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I have the number now, I'll send it out to hundreds of lads in the morning. Twisted Evil

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UniBaiter
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

My mother in-law was take by this a few years ago and sent them $2000. He was supposedly in jail in Canada and needed the money for bail. The guy told her not to call his parents because he didn't want to upset them. She called the police where she lives, but they told her there was nothing they could do.

It would be nice if there was a way to nab these guys when they went to pick up the money.

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Mister Volleyball
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You can use a few free webtools to see if it is a VOIP line.

phonevalidator.com is one of my favorites

tnid.us also works

Both are free. If TNID says CLEC, its usually a voip too.
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alexmichaels
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Phonevalidator tells me its a cell phone from Montreal.
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Big X
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^ It's a cell phone from Montreal that has been ringing all day, if my phone chain lads have been doing the job properly. Twisted Evil

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Mister Volleyball
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

alexmichaels wrote:
Phonevalidator tells me its a cell phone from Montreal.


Depending on if a cop wants jurisdiction or not, with a valid cell phone number, it is possible to pick these clowns up.

Just sayin....
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