Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert today to warn unsuspecting senior citizens who may be targeted by scam artists pretending to call on behalf of grandsons or granddaughters in need of money.
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has seen an alarming upswing in inquiries and complaints recently about these calls.
"It is deplorable that people would prey on the elderly and take advantage of their natural generosity and vulnerability," McDaniel said. "I urge anyone receiving a call from someone asking for money to help a grandchild to put their nurturing instincts aside long enough to verify that the person is truly calling on behalf of a loved one."
In the "Grandparent Scam," the con artist calls an elderly person, 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.
The con artist then tells a story about the "grandchild" being in an accident, being arrested or having some kind of trouble requiring immediate cash. The con artist then tries to entice the person into wiring money as soon as possible to help the grandchild out of their predicament.
Once the victim wires the money, there is usually no way to get it back.
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling for the "Grandparent 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.