Scammers claim to be grandchild to scam grandparents out of money

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(Courtesy: Joshua Hoehne, unsplash)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Is your grandchild calling you and asking for your help? If so, it might be a scam. 

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says scammers have been known to call senior citizens pretending to be their grandchild. Others scammers claim to be law enforcement with news about a grandchild in another state or country, saying they need money due to an emergency.

“Most grandparents would do anything to help a grandchild in trouble because they are incredibly generous to family members in need,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “That’s why it’s so important to exercise caution when receiving such calls. Think carefully before handing over money in this situation.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recently received reports of the scam circulating in West Virginia. Scams like this often surface during vacation season and as students head off to college.

Scammers rely on the goodwill of grandparents to shield grandchildren from potential punishment. 

Following these tips can help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Stay calm, and don’t react out of immediacy.
  • Get a call back number.
  • Call the grandchild’s known number or other family members to see if there really is an emergency.
  • Ask a question that only the grandchild would know the answer to, such as a pet’s name, the child’s nickname or where they attended school. 
  • Never give bank routing numbers or credit card numbers to anyone over the phone.
  • Be skeptical of any request for a wire transfer or to use a pre-paid debit card, regardless of who the requestor says they are.
  • Do not wire money until a third party verifies the alleged child really is in trouble. Check local jails and/or hospitals.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of such a scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239, or visit the office online.

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