Grandparent scam calls resurface in Lee County

Author: wink news
Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Authorities have seen an increase in calls this month from residents reporting a telephone scam sometimes referred to as the “grandparent scam.”

The fraudsters in the never-ending scheme target older adults by impersonating a grandchild in distress, while tugging on their heart and purse strings.

Residents have reported receiving phone calls from both a male and female imposter who start off the conversation with either “Hi Grandma” or “Hi Grandpa.”

The callers then claim to need financial help after being involved in car accident out of the area, or arrested for drunk driving after attending a friend’s funeral.

In some instances, the caller gave instructions for the “grandparent” to go to the nearest drug store, purchase a pre-paid card and load it with cash.

Fortunately, everyone who has reported the scam to the hotline recognized the red flags and did not fall for the fraudulent request.

In addition to posing as grandchildren, these con artists may also impersonate attorneys, police officers, or bail bondsmen in order to create a sense of urgency and legitimacy; while creating loud background noises, distractions and demands.

Officials offer the following advice before you rush in to help. No matter how hard the caller pushes you:

  • Take a moment to review the situation. Does it make sense? Can you verify the emergency
  • Call your loved one on the phone number you have saved for them. If you can’t reach them, call a friend or relative to find out where they are at.
  • Ask questions of the caller that only your loved one would know the answers to.
  • Never wire transfer money or use reloadable cards to help a loved one out unless you can verify the information you’ve been given with 100 percentconfidence.
  • Develop a secret code or “password” with family members that can be used to verify a true emergency.
  • Don’t rely on the caller ID system when determining whether or not a call is legitimate.

If you have received a grandparent scam phone call and would like to report it to law enforcement, or if you have sent money to a scammer, contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-258-3292.

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