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Warning issued about scam targeting grandparents

The Attorney General's office warns the so-called “grandparent’s scam” is still targeting Kentucky seniors. The Office of Consumer Protection reports receiving several calls and an actual complaint from one Kentucky consumer who recently lost $6,000 after falling victim to the scam.

The scam works like this: A victim (grandparent) will receive a phone call from someone claiming to be his/her grandchild. The scammer (grandchild) will tell the grandparent about an emergency they are in, which may involve a car accident or having been arrested. The scammer will insist that they need money to get back home or post bail, and will ask the grandparent to send money through a money transfer service, amounting to several thousand dollars.

The Attorney General's office says a Vine Grove grandmother is the latest to fall for the scam. In that case, the scammer, or “grandchild,” asked her not to tell her parents about the “grandchild’s” arrest for drug possession during a traffic stop. The victim then wired $6,000 to Canada through Western Union. Last year, a Louisville man also lost $6,000 as a result of the scam.

New reports also reveal that scammers are now portraying themselves as policemen or lawyers calling on behalf of a grandchild.

Kentucky consumers are advised to obtain the caller’s name or ask a question that only a relative would know if receiving this type of call. Also, contact your relative by cell phone to verify the situation.

The Attorney General's office is also recommending all consumers check the security settings on social media accounts, as it's possible scammers are getting information on family members through those sites. They recommend people on Facebook and MySpace double check that privacy settings only allow confirmed friends to access personal information.

Consumers who suspect they have been a victim of a scam can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 or visit ag.ky.gov/civil/consumerprotection.


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