This one hit close to home when I got a call from my dad last Thursday.

My dad called me just after I got off the aire last Thursday morning. He told me that he had received a call from my son. He said my son told him that a friend had won a trip to Peru and they both went and now he was in trouble and needed help. My dad said that my son would not tell him anything else until my dad promised him not to tell me. My dad said he told my my son that he could not keep secrets from me and my wife. MY dad said they then got disconnected and the number was not traceable. I was in a panic! I was thinking my son was in South America and in trouble. I called my son only to find out he was asleep at home.

I then called my dad and told him it was a scam. The next day I received this ....

Carmen Million, President

Better Business Bureau

(Media use only) 337-478-6513


December 15, 2011 IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BBB Warns: Grandparent Scam Targeting Local Seniors

Better Business Bureau is warning senior citizens to be aware of a telephone scam that is preying on grandparents nationwide. BBB has recently received reports about grandparents who thought they were aiding their grandchildren by providing money for an emergency situation but were in fact giving thousands of dollars to con artists. One local senior citizen wired as much as $3000.00 before she realized that it was a scam.

Generally, the scam works like this – the grandparent receives a distressed phone call from who they believe is their grandchild. The supposed grandchild typically explains that they are travelling in another country and have been arrested or involved in an auto accident and need the grandparent to wire money to post bail or pay for damages—usually amounting to a few thousand dollars. While many seniors have reported the scam without falling prey to it, unfortunately, many others have been victimized.

“This scam is appalling because it preys on the emotions of seniors who want nothing more than to ensure the safety of their grandchildren,” said Carmen Million, BBB SWLA President. “The key to avoiding this scam is to remain calm despite the ‘emergency’ nature of the call and to verify the identity of the caller. Too often people are allowing themselves to get caught up in the false sense of urgency and they end up making emotional, instead of logical, decisions.”

Known as the “grandparent scam” or “grandchild scam,” calls have been reported throughout the country for several years. The cons tend to target elderly people who might have trouble recognizing voices over the phone. Because the cons usually claim to be embarrassed and ask to keep the incident a secret, victims neglect to verify the story before sending money.

News Release: Grandparent Scam                                                                   Page 2

BBB offers tips to help detect a scam:

1. Don’t fill in the blanks for the scammer. For example:

Caller: "It's your granddaughter."

Grandparent: "Which one?"

Most likely, the con will then hang up.

2. Do whatever is necessary to confirm the real relative’s whereabouts. Call your grandchild’s home, school or work.

3. Don’t send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble.If a caller asks for your bank account number or urges you to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram for any reason, that’s a good indication of a scam. Cons prefer wire transfers because they are fast, there are transfer agents in most communities and funds can be picked up in multiple locations.