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Southern Pines police warn of 'Grandparent Scam'

Posted December 2, 2010

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— Southern Pine police issued a warning Wednesday about the so-called "Grandparent Scam" in which a person poses as an elderly person's grandchild in order to take money from them.

Police said that in late November, a Southern Pines woman got a call from a man claiming to be her grandson. The man said that he was in jail on drunken-driving charges and needed $2,300 to make bond. The woman sent the man money via Western Union.

The next day, the man called again, still claiming to be her grandson, police said. He said he had been injured in the wreck and needed another $2,300 to pay the hospital bills.

The victim told a friend about the calls. Police said the friend contacted the victim's real grandson, who said it wasn't him who'd made the phone calls. The victim then reported the scam to police.

Police said that this fraud has been used for some time and has occurred by telephone, email and social networking sites. They urged people to take precautions.

  • If you get a call or a message asking for help, hang up or log off, and contact the family member directly to make sure the request is legitimate.
  • Ask the person questions that only your real family member would be able to answer.
  • Never give out personal information to anyone who calls you on the telephone, emails you or contacts you online.
  • Be careful when wiring money in response to a phone call, email or online message.

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  • MonkeyFace Dec 2, 2010

    because we actully have customers with families living in nigeria.. err! hello!

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Dec 2, 2010

    Why don't we just cut off all Western Union transfers to Nigeria?

  • quiturwhining Dec 2, 2010

    If nothing else, this can cause some very anxious hours for the family until the grandchild is located and verified to be OK. I'd like to see some international policing done to try to catch folks.

  • quiturwhining Dec 2, 2010

    This happened to my mother with my nephew. It's a bigger problem than people realize. First, understand that the scammers have acquired enough info about the person to at least have name, grandparent's phone number, and often more. The caller quickly starts crying, which makes it hard to discern their voice. They typically ask that their parents not be called, to avoid parental wrath or so as not to upset them. And if they are supposedly calling from jail, obviously caller ID isn't much help-it could say any number of things-and everyone doesn't have CID. The caller also says it has to be done within 2 or 3 hours for some reason.

    Older folks may not be up to speed on all the garbage that people are pulling in the world-but let's not stereotype the "old." This can be a frightening and confusing experience no matter your age. Often the grandchildren are away in college, and the story sounds possible. My nephew's scammer knew what college he went to and used the name on the phone.

  • MonkeyFace Dec 2, 2010

    mugu, its actully the western union agents JOB to ask when some one is sending money outside of the US and in large amounts like this.. its part of our AML policy.. poor job done by the agent.. i have save people so much money.. its not only this scam, but buying a dog, they breeder claims to be in the US but the dog is coming from Nigeria and they customer has to pay for the ticket for the dog to get over here.. renting a house off line, people have been asked to WU money to the owner for the deposits.. so much more that just those too. one of the business owners beside us is selling some thing, and they guy that was trying to buy it asked if he could send a cashiers check, I of course told my guy not to accept it because 9 times outta 10, they "send too much" and ask for you to send the rest back via WU. People just have to becareful!

  • MonkeyFace Dec 2, 2010

    this has been going on for how long? thats one of the questions that the western union agent is supossed to ask.. when we sign on to western union, it tells you of the current scams.. so the western union agent wasn't doing their job properly

  • crustyhalo Dec 2, 2010

    mugu...nothing funny about this at all !!!!!

  • MillerB Dec 2, 2010

    It's ok. They may get away with it for now, but there's one Judge they will never escape from, and His judgement will come in it's time.

  • Mugu Dec 2, 2010

    This is hilarious, this is why Western Union should have more safeguards in place and proper identification of people receiving monies.

  • headlong Dec 2, 2010

    This happened to my ex-Mother n Law a while back too. The person claimed to be my Son. What threw her off is the "guy" called her Grandma which none of the Children call her...good thing each "Grandma" has different names.