(Source: West Bloomfield Police)
The West Bloomfield Police Department has been receiving reports regarding the “Grandparent Scam” in recent weeks. This is where a person receives a phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who is in need of money due to an emergency of some kind, such as a medical issue, a car accident/ mechanical problem, or even bail. They ask that the money be sent through such services as Western Union and MoneyGram so that it can be obtained quickly. Beware, there is a good chance that it is an imposter trying to steal your money. These scammers sometimes contact people randomly, fishing for information. They also use marketing lists, telephone listings, and information from social networking sites, obituaries and other sources.
If you receive such a call, you should verify the identity and location of the grandchild claiming to be in trouble. You should hang up and call another family member who can confirm your grandchild’s whereabouts. Try calling your grandchild at the telephone number through which you normally reach him or her. Stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency. Do not wire money unless you have verified with an independent third party that your grandchild is truly in trouble. In addition, never give out any personal identifying information such as bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone. Con artists will lie, cheat, steal, and make up plausible stories to convince you to wire money or divulge sensitive information. If you realize that you have been scammed, contact the money transfer service immediately to report the scam. If the money hasn’t been picked up yet, you can retrieve it, but if it has, it’s not like a check that you can stop – the money is gone.
If you have been scammed, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 517-373-1140 or www.michigan.gov/ag (online complaint form).