Navigation Menu

David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602

Link to Home Page link to Information on the Divison Link to Staff name, telephone and e-mail link to Topic Index Link to Frequently Asked Questions Link to Hot Topics Link to Training Calendar Link to Area Agencies on Aging Links to other Aging Sites Click to e-mail webmaster Link to the Department of Health and Human Services Disclaimer

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

animated image of caution


******Alert #322******

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:

  1. The supposed grandchild explains that his or her voice sounds different because of injuries sustained in the wreck.
  2. The supposed grandchild implores the grandparent not to tell his or her parents until he gets out of jail – and describes terrible conditions in the jail.
  3. Third parties claiming to be the grandchild’s attorney or jailer will place calls to the grandparent, describe the grandchild’s deteriorating physical or legal situation, and press them to wire money (or more money) immediately.
  4. The grandparent is told not to bother with calling the grandchild’s cell phone number because it has been confiscated by jailers.
  5. Once money has been wired, the grandparent is called again and told that additional monies need to be wired because the medical condition of a victim has deteriorated, or a victim has died, or because the victims’ rental car company wants to be compensated for damages, or because charges have been increased, necessitating more money for bail or attorneys fees.

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


vertical line

NC Senior Consumer
Fraud Task Force

View Alerts:

Consumer Fraud / Alerts

Federal Trade Commission Alerts
(Protecting America's Consumers)

Related links

The United States Postal Inspection Service - Watch