COLUMBUS - Ohio
Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned families to beware phone
scams targeting grandparents as National Grandparents Day (Sunday,
“grandparent scam” occurs when a con artist calls a grandparent and
claims to be a grandchild who is away from home and in need of immediate
financial help. Grandparents are asked to send thousands of dollars to
help the grandchild return home safely.
2015, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received approximately 40
complaints involving this type of scam, with an average reported loss of
more than $4,000.
of the reasons this scam works is that the relationship between a
grandparent and a grandchild is different than the relationship between a
parent and a child,” Attorney General DeWine said. “Grandparents are
more likely to send money, no questions asked. Scam artists understand
this and they take advantage of it.”
who are targeted by the scam often are told their grandchild has been
in an accident, arrested for driving under the influence, or found with
marijuana in the car. Sometimes an “officer” or an “attorney” comes on
the phone to explain the seriousness of the situation and why money is
needed right away (to post bail or to cover medical costs, for
the grandparents are asked to purchase prepaid money cards, which are
commonly available at grocery and convenience stores. Once they purchase
the cards, they are told to provide the multi-digit codes on the back
of the cards. With this information, scammers can go online and drain
the cards’ funds.
a recent variation of the scam, con artists ask victims to buy iTunes
cards, to provide the card numbers over the phone, and then to mail the
cards to someone else, making it harder for victims to report the scam
or attempt to recover their money.
Consumers can protect themselves from the grandparent scam by following these tips:
Talk to your family about these scams and discuss how you would communicate during a true emergency.
you get a call from a grandchild or other family member who claims to
be in trouble, ask questions only your real family members would know
how to answer.
send money via wire transfer or prepaid card in response to an
unexpected phone call. These are preferred payment methods of scammers
because they are difficult to trace or recover once payment is
Watch for any unusual banking activity or prepaid card receipts from your grandparents or other family members.
the amount of information you post online and limit who can view your
information. For example, don’t post upcoming travel plans online,
because scammers could use that information to take advantage of your