Scammers Using Desperate Phone Calls to Prey on Senior Citizens

scam2A shameless phone scam that tricks senior citizens into thinking a grandchild has been arrested abroad continues to deplete the bank accounts of those who fall for it.

In a recent White Plains incident, a victim of this scam said the caller concocted a story that her “grandson was with a friend driving in Buffalo, New York and crossed the Canadian border and was arrested for drug possession.” He instructed her to wire money to Canada to post bail.

This scam is not limited to phone calls, it has also been perpretrated via email. Residents will receive emails from the account of a friend or loved one claiming to be in another country and requesting a large sum of money for a plane ticket, bail money, or other emergency expenses. In reality, a scammer has obtained control of the sender’s email account and contact list/address book, and the victim sends the money directly to the scammer.

Red Flags of these particular scams include:

  • Anyone you’ve never met or spoke to on the phone that is asking for money through the Internet or to be wired to them is scamming you.
  • Always thoroughly research anyone you meet on a social-networking or Internet dating website.
  • Be very suspicious if you are asked to send anything through a third party.
  • Be very suspicious if an email has misspellings, broken English, or any grammatical anomalies.
  • An Ontario, Canada area code

If you receive an urgent call asking for help for a family member, be suspicious and make every attempt to find out whether the emergency is real before acting. Ask for the caller’s name and contact information. Make some calls and find out whether the story is true. Don’t be pressured by a caller who tells you that you must act immediately. Even if the caller’s account is true, there is no emergency so critical that you cannot take some time to verify the facts.

Please protect yourselves and your elderly family members by sharing this information.