PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Groves

October 11, 2013

Grandparent scam targets seniors

GROVES — A Groves senior citizen who was the victim of a scam has words of caution for other senior citizens.

The 81-year-old man was embarrassed and did not want to publish has name after falling victim to what law enforcement call the “grandparent scam.” Luckily the scammers hadn’t cashed the MoneyGram and the victim was able to recoup his cash.

The man received a phone call from a person impersonating his grandson who lives out-of-state, saying he had went to a party, had a wreck and was in jail. A lawyer could get him out of jail and the incident not be on his permanent record if he sent $2,500.

The scammer then put another man on the phone claiming to be the attorney for the grandson. The phony attorney gave the Groves man instructions on how to send the money.

The Groves man then went to his bank and withdrew the money then to Walmart where he sent the money via MoneyGram, thus bringing his total to more than $2,800 with fees.

“He told me he’d have my grandson out of jail in about an hour so I waited and waited for the lawyer to call me back. It was over and hour and I figured the case got hung up,” the man said.

He ended up calling his grandson and learning that he had been the victim of a scam. Once he learned of the scam he quickly went to the Groves Police Department and made a police report.

Several hours later the man visited Walmart and learned that the scammers had not picked up the MoneyGram. Relieved, the man called GPD to report the newest twist in the case.

“Think about it before you mail any money to anybody. Check with the person involved,” the man said. “I just don’t want it to happen to anybody else.”

GPD City Marshal Jeff Wilmore confirmed he had spoken to the scam victim and added he has seen this and other scams many times.

“This is just one of the many different scams reported by different departments. Because they (scammers) do such a good job at acting and sounding like the family member it makes this more believable,” Wilmore said. “These people have answers to every question you will ask. What you should do is call the family member yourself or whoever it is you need to call to make sure that family member is ok.”

Wilmore added that the public needs to be skeptical about sending money via Western Union or MoneyGram because methods are often used for illicit activities.

Wilmore received a call about a different type of scam on Wednesday. In this scenario the caller states they are with Medicare and that the victim needs to get a new Medicare card. They already have valid information such as Social Security number and bank account number but not everything needed to take the money out of the account, he said.

Wilmore suggests if you are suspicious of a call then get the callers phone number and call them back.

And if you did send money as part of a scam then check to see if the money has been picked up and always call the police.

“It is extraordinarily hard for law enforcement to work these cases as they often come from out of the state and even from out of the country,” he said. “Call the police if you are suspicious of a call. We would rather have 100 false alarms then for you not to call that one time when something really is happening.”

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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