Grandparents scam resurfaces in Tri-state

September 22, 2018

NEEDLES — One of the older — and crueler — scams is resurfacing in the Tri-state with an added twist: preying on relatives of Hurricane Florence victims.

The ‘Grandparents Scam’ involves a fraudulent contact by someone purporting to be, or to represent, a relative in trouble; typically a grandchild. The Better Business Bureau’s 2016 “12 Scams of Christmas” warns: “Senior citizens should be very cautious if they get a call from a grandchild claiming to be in an accident, hospitalized, or arrested when traveling in another country. Never send any money unless you have confirmed with other family members this is true.”

Nevada’s office of the attorney general, in a warning issued six years earlier, describes a more complex version: “The first call will be an individual who claims to be a relative or someone claiming to be from the police. A second call will be from someone posing as an attorney. The recipient of the call is asked to wire money to Canada or some other foreign country.”

The current version skips the foreign country part and claims a relative is injured/sick/hospitalized in the area of the southeast brutalized by Hurricane Florence last week and still suffering from the aftermath. A Needles reader called Thursday morning to report someone trying to run the scam. Already a near-victim once in the foreign country version, this reader smelled a half-drowned wharf-rat pretty quickly and told them so. The scammer promptly hung up.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris warned, when she was California Attorney General in 2015: “Remember, scammers often depend on creating a false sense of urgency. Do not send money or offer any help without first calling other family members to make sure that the emergency is real.”

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