The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit has received a number of complaints in recent weeks about these calls, which are made to unsuspecting senior citizens by crooks calling supposedly on behalf of favorite grandsons or granddaughters in need of money.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today issued this consumer alert warning Arkansas seniors to be aware of this scam.
“My grandmother would do whatever she could to help me without a second thought, just like so many grandparents would for their grandchildren,” McDaniel said. “Unfortunately, these scam artists play on that trait. Therefore, I urge anyone receiving a call from someone asking for money to pause and make sure they are engaged in a conversation about a true loved one before agreeing to give any money away.”
In the "favorite grandson" scam, the con artist calls an elderly person, whom he either knows or found through other means like scanning the phonebook for "traditional-sounding" names.
Once contact is made, the con artist identifies himself as an acquaintance of the person’s "favorite grandson" or “granddaughter” and tries to get the senior citizen to say the name of a grandchild. They then tell a story to explain that they are calling because the “grandchild” has supposedly been in an accident, been arrested or has fallen into some other kind of trouble and requires cash immediately. The con artist then tries to entice the person into wiring money as soon as possible to help the grandchild out of said predicament.
Once the victim wires the money, there is usually no way to get it back.
Here are some tips to remember to avoid falling for the "favorite grandson" scam:
- Never give or wire money based on an unsolicited phone call.
- Verify your family member's whereabouts by directly calling another family member or the grandchild.
- Never send money to an unknown account or entity.