North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services
TO NC SENIOR CONSUMER FRAUD TASK FORCE MEMBERS
New Twist on Grandparent Scam Observed
The Elder Fraud Unit of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is noticing a new twist in the way overseas scam artists are running the “Grandparent Scam.” Whereas in recent years the scammers have claimed that they were the victim’s grandchild vacationing overseas, and that they were facing criminal charges in a country such as Peru, Mexico, Spain or England for causing in a terrible traffic accident, now some of them are claiming to be incarcerated in the local jail of the community where the grandchild actually resides. They claim that the persons they injured were foreign tourists who were travelling in a rental car here in the U.S. and that release from jail on bond will not be considered until thousands of dollars are wired to the injured foreign tourists, who have returned to their home country to recuperate. The payments usually are represented to be for medical care.
This new twist may stem from the fact that targets of the Grandparent Scam often will not believe that their grandchild has gone on an overseas trip, especially without telling them. Or, the victim might have spoken with the grandchild in question just hours or days before. Victims are more likely to believe, however, that their grandchild was just involved in a local traffic accident. One target was told recently that her grandson was in the local jail here in North Carolina. Another NC target was told that her grandson was in the local jail in his current town in New York state. In both instances the targets of the scams were told to wire $6000 to individuals in Bogota, Columbia.
The other common features of a Grandparent Scam appear to remain the same:
In the U.S., a person arrested because of an automobile accident cannot be held in jail until the other party’s medical or property damage bills are paid.
Individuals or businesses who think an older adult is being targeted with this or any other type of cross-border scam should contact the Elder Fraud Unit of the Attorney General’s, telephone 1-877-5-NOSCAM, and ask to speak with one of the Telemarketing Fraud Duty Agents.
******End of Alert******
Date: March 7, 2014
David N. Kirkman
NC Senior Consumer
Fraud Task Force
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