Last week we talked about a scam called The Pigeon Drop. That scam is just one of many that fraudsters will use to dupe their senior victims. This week we will talk about a particularly heartbreaking scam, The Grandchild in Trouble. The Grandchild in Trouble Scheme is particularly troubling because it tugs on the heart strings of the elderly person. It is international in scope and has recently surfaced in Langley.
Scammers have no conscience and they will prey on seniors. They are always looking for ways to make their elderly victims part with their money.
They know that today’s seniors may have grandchildren scattered throughout Langley, British Columbia or even across the country. Seniors and elderly people want to help their family members and these pros know all the tricks. Unfortunately the crooks don’t get caught very often because of the elderly person’s embarrassment at being taken advantage of and most of the time the senior will not even report the crime.
This scam starts with a disturbing telephone call from the alleged grandson or granddaughter who is in trouble. They have been arrested and need money for bail. The scammer will cry in distress and beg their elderly grandparent not to contact their parents. They are afraid that they will get in more trouble. When the senior agrees to help them they will give a number to them so they can call to post bail. This call will be answered by someone pretending to be a lawyer or police officer and the victim will be asked to use a money wire to send the bail money which is sometimes in the thousands of dollars. Canadian Police agencies do not contact individuals for bail money nor do they use money wire services.
To avoid being taken advantage of, the first thing to do is to take your time and keep your head. Ask for the name of the lawyer or police officer and write down the number they tell you. BUT under no circumstances call that number! If you have call display write down the incoming number. Tell the caller you will do what they ask and hang up. Next, call your son or daughter to determine the whereabouts of their children. Once you’ve determined that your family is safe and sound call the police and report the incident. If you are unnerved about this, ask your family member or a neighbour to help you. The police understand that this process is hard on an elderly person so when they send an office to take your statement they will be accompanied by a trained victim services worker. This worker will help you deal with the trauma and make sure that you will be cared for.
Like my sister said, getting old isn’t for sissies but as a savvy senior you will be prepared to deflect any and all scams that might come your way. Watch this space, next week we will be discussing a new twist on the numbers game: The lottery scam.
Lilianne Fuller, Relationship Manager at B Cared For Services