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Scam reported in Heron Lake: “Grandchild” scam attempted

January 11, 2012

Scam reported in Heron Lake: “Grandchild” scam attempted
The scam to bilk seniors by pretending to be their grandchildren in trouble has been reported in Heron Lake. A city resident was called by someone claiming to be her granddaughter. The person claimed to have been arrested in Las Vegas and need a large amount of cash to get out of jail. Generally, these type of scams ask for a large amount of cash to be wired via Western Union. Anyone receiving such a call is urged to be certain of the person’s identity. Residents are urged to exercise caution if they receive phone calls from “grandchildren” requesting money for an urgent situation. Hallmarks of the fraud include a person posing as a grandchild, or a third-party representing them such as a police officer, attorney or border agent; an urgent need for immediate funds; and a demand for secrecy. Typically in the scam, the caller will claim they need funds wired immediately to cover a vehicle crash, an arrest, border taxes or medical needs. Stressing their embarrassment, the caller urges the grandparent not to inform their parents or friends. Many of these fake calls seem to be from popular warm-weather destinations. However, calls purporting to be from Canada lend credibility to the scam throughout the year, given its proximity to Minnesota. These tips are offered to grandparents and family members to avoid being taken by the increasingly popular grandchild-in-trouble scheme: • Make sure of the caller’s identity. Don’t provide names or other information. Ask something that only the grandchild would know. • Verify the location of the family member by calling another family member or friend. • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers depend on immediacy and will emotionally leverage love and embarrassment to induce their targets to wire funds quickly. Contact local law enforcement officials if a scam call is made to you.

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