Area law enforcement agencies are warning the elderly that scammers are now using their love for their grandchildren as a way to scam money from them.
The scammers are contacting victims by phone and telling them that their grandchild has been involved in a motor vehicle accident or have been arrested for driving under the influence and need money.
The scammers are sometimes posing as the grandchild and even crying or sounding upset. When the victims try to get more details or suggest that the “grandchild” contact their parents, the scammers come up with a “quick and believable answer," according to a North Augusta Public Safety news release from Lt. Tim Thornton.
“By the end of the call, usually the scammer is asking the grandparent to send money via a Western Union transfer in the neighborhood of $2,500-$3,000 to help get their grandchild out of trouble,” the release stated.
That’s what happened to a 76-year-old North Augusta woman on April 24.
The woman told police that she received a phone call from who she thought was her grandson and he sounded as if he was sick, according to a North Augusta Public Safety incident report.
The caller told her that he was involved in a traffic accident and was arrested for driving under the influence. He said that in order for him to be released, she had to Western Union $2,800 to a man in Mexico and that his attorney would call her to give her instructions on the transfer.
A man named “Stanley Rosen” called and told her to use the Western Union at Kroger in North Augusta. The victim transferred the money to a man named “Emilio Alvarez Lopez” in Mexico, according to the report.
After the woman talked with her husband, they suspected that they had been scammed and she contacted her grandson who confirmed it.
The victim contacted Western Union and found out that they did not allow the transfer. She was refunded her money in full, the report stated.
Police are advising people of all ages who receive a suspicious call to verify the situation before sending any money. The longer the scammer talks on the phone, the more information they are able to gather to help them seem legit, the release said.
People should never give their full name, Social Security number, date of birth or account numbers over the phone.
“Please remember that most flim-flam scammers are very good at what they’re doing and will make anything sound true, critical and desperate need of immediate attention,” the release stated.