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David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Chair
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
Justice
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602
919-716-6000

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TO NC SENIOR CONSUMER FRAUD TASK FORCE MEMBERS

******Alert #267******

"Grandparent Scam" Becoming Costlier and More Sophisticated

The Hickory Daily Record newspaper ran a story late last week about retired Hickory Police Chief Floyd Lucas’ efforts to fight phone-fraud artists who are targeting local seniors with the “Grandma/Grandpa, It’s Me!” scam. This is the scam where younger people call an older consumer and pretend to be the consumer’s grandson or granddaughter. They claim to be on a trip far from home and facing a medical, legal or transportation crisis. They implore their victims to wire them money but not to tell anyone, especially their parents. The scam first came to light over ten years ago and often involved young people who knew their victims. Losses tended to be a one-time thing and seldom exceeded a few hundred dollars.

Several Task Force members around the state are reporting marked increases in the frequency of these scams and the amounts that victims have lost. Dorothy Strickland and Margrita Harrison in the Attorney General’s Elder Fraud-Prevent Revictimization Unit are receiving reports of victims who have lost in excess of $20,000 through a series of repeat hits. The current scammers, who appear to be members of sophisticated overseas fraud groups, have been employing their repeat victimization techniques to full effect. After the victim wires a few thousand dollars for car repairs to the supposed grandson who has been in an auto accident overseas, he or she may receive a call from a phony law enforcement officer claiming that the grandson faces criminal charges as a result of the accident and that several thousands more will be required to get him out of jail. Then a phony barrister (attorney) may call and request thousands of dollars to represent him. The barrister may call again and report that additional, more serious charges have been laid against the grandson and that more money for increased bond and attorneys’ fees should be wired. After that, calls might come from a phony hospital or U.S. consular official requesting several thousands of dollars as a deposit for life-saving surgery needed by the waylaid grandchild.

The link to the article about Chief Lucas and his efforts is http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/news/2011/apr/15/grandson-scam-targets-another-hickory-victim-ar-951840/


******End of Alert******

April 19, 2011

 

David N. Kirkman
Assistant Attorney General
Task Force Alerts Chair
Consumer Protection Division
Office of Attorney General Roy Cooper
9001 Mail Processing Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Tel. 919-716-6000

 

 

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