Cumberland Times-News

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July 14, 2014

AG: 'Grandparent scam' reappearing

— CHARLESTON—Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges West Virginians to be on guard for the so-called Grandparent Scam, in which in a person calls and pretends to be a grandchild who needs money for bail, medical treatment or other emergency.

 

“This scam originally popped up last fall and is making its way back into the region this summer,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Scammers take advantage of the fact many people go on vacation during the summer and that teenagers and young adults may be away from home for long periods of time for summer jobs. They then prey on older family members and try to bilk them for money.”

 

The scam typically begins with a frantic phone call from someone posing as a grandchild who says he or she is in trouble. In some cases, the caller hands to phone to someone else who says he is an attorney or health care professional trying to help the “family member,” but needs to have money transferred over immediately to cover legal, medical or other costs.  Sometimes the scammers call twice in a short time—first as the grandchild in distress and then either as a law enforcement officer, medical provider or family friend. Sometimes the second caller says the amount quoted earlier was too low and asks for more money.

 

“These scams prey on the love elderly West Virginians have for their family, and our willingness to do anything we can to help a loved one in distress,” Morrisey said. “But people need to remember that wiring money is the same as sending cash, and consumers have very little protections if they wire money to an individual. Typically you cannot reverse the transaction once it is made, nor can you trace the money or recover it from a con artist.”

 

To avoid being scammed, Morrisey recommended that consumers take the following precautions:

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