Beware of "grandparents scam" 2012.08.08

Written by David Green.

The “grandparents scam” has reached Morenci. Con artists have called people in the area in an attempt to bilk residents out of cash.

Callers contact older people and pose as one of their grandchildren. In one case in Michigan, a caller said he was caught fishing in Canada without a license and needed $3,000 to avoid jail.

The money was wired to the “grandson,” but then he claimed that alcohol and drugs were found on the boat and the couple was taken for an additional $30,000.

In a typical call, a grandparent receives a frantic call from someone they believe to be their grandchild. The caller might say, “Hi Grandma, it’s me, your favorite grandchild,” and the grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the caller sounds most like. After that, the scammer takes on that grandchild’s identity for the remainder of the call.

The supposed grandchild sounds distressed and may be calling from a noisy location. The grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble while traveling in Canada or overseas, such as being arrested or in a car accident or needing emergency car repairs, and asks the grandparent to immediately wire money.

The scammer typically asks for several thousand dollars, and may even call back again several hours or days later asking for more money. He or she may claim embarrassment about the alleged trouble and asks the grandparent to keep it a secret.

 In one variation of the scam, the first scammer calls and poses as a grandchild under arrest. A second scammer, posing as some type of law enforcement officer, then gets on the phone with the grandparent and explains what fines need to be paid. Alternatively, the scammer may pretend to be a family friend or neighbor. 

Wiring money is like sending cash; there are no protections for the sender.  Typically there is no way you can reverse the transaction, trace the money, or recover payment from the telephone con artists. 

If you receive such a call, you should verify the identity and location of the grandchild claiming to be in trouble. You should hang up and call another family member who can confirm your grandchild’s whereabouts. Try calling your grandchild at the telephone number through which you normally reach him or her.  Stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency.  Do not wire money unless you have verified with an independent third party that your grandchild is truly in trouble.

 In addition, never give out any personal identifying information such as bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone.  As in the Grandparents Scam, con artists will lie, cheat, steal, and make up plausible stories to convince you to wire money or divulge sensitive information.  The callers are often professional criminals who are skillfully able to get you to wire money or give personal information before you have time to properly assess the situation.

For more information, contact the Morenci police department by calling 458-7104.

  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
  • Front.art.park
  • Front.drum
  • Shadow.salon

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016