Another telephone scam targeting elderly American citizens has been uncovered. According to the report, it appears to be based out of Canada. The perpetrators’ have amassed a database of information on senior citizen from their grandchildren’s blogs, MySpace and Face Book pages, plus a number of other online sources. They use this information to contact their victims. This telephone scam has bilked millions of dollars from the retirement savings of these unsuspecting souls. It is being referred to as the Granny Phone Scam.
An individual calls a senior on the telephone. When the senior answers the caller’s greeting is, “Granny is that you? They then pause and wait for the senior to respond with a name. Next the caller confirms they are the person the senior named and begin to explain they are in trouble. Using a desperate voice stating they are in Canada and reasons such as; I was in a car accident, have been arrested, or other emergency type situation, they beg and plead for assistance. They close with they are in desperate need of money and they have no one else to turn to. Finally, the caller request a cash loan to pay bail or settle damages be sent to them. They may introduce an accomplice at that time that becomes the authority the money must be sent to at a Canadian address.
Preying on the love and compassion the elderly have for their family is a pretty sure thing. The Granny Phone Scam ring realizes this and exhibits no conscious when using this ploy to take advantage of these people. The elderly give to their grandkids because they want to show their love. Grandparents’ love for their grandchildren generally has no limits and the financial support, as long as they can afford it, also does not. So the loses continue to mount. It is easy to understand why so many people have fallen for this scam, love is the perfect weapon. The scammers are excellent social engineers and have all the right answers.
According to fraud experts, a scam is generally in the making anytime you are requested to send money to a strange location. How can you know if the request is real or not? Actually it is difficult to know for sure. Here are a few precautions you can take; 1.) A follow up call to your grandchild’s parents may be one way. Even if they ask that you keep it a secret. You can confirm if the child is at the address they requested you send the money to. 2.) You can also ask for a call back number. Delay making an immediate decision. Tell the caller you need to confirm the availability of the requested funds. Ask for a call back telephone number. If it is a legitimate emergency the caller should have no problems giving you the telephone number. 3.) If you have internet access, and caller ID, you can use Google to check to verify if the telephone number and the address match. By typing the area code and telephone number in the Google search box, the search results will generally list the name and address associated with that telephone number if it is a land line. 4.)*69 the call. After obtaining the information from the caller, wait a few minutes and press *69 on your telephone touch pad. This will redial the last telephone number that called your telephone. You do not need to say any thing just listen to the voice and the background. Does it sound different than what you heard during your first call?
These are only suggestions to help you determine if you are receiving a legitimate call. Since you are aware of how the scam works, be extremely cautious if you get a request to send money to a Canadian address. One family after falling prey to this scam created a password for family members to use to verify they are talking to another family member. Protect your loved one, tell your children to be careful about the information they display regarding the family on their internet social network pages.