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Arlington Heights Grandparent Scam or Grandmother Scam: Offender Gets Money

Sat November 19 2011 10:43 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=49104
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Arlington Heights police received a report that an offender contacted a 75-year-old female victim and stated “Grandma, do you know who this is?” The victim asked if the person was one of her grandchildren and used a specific name. The offender acknowledged he was indeed her grandson. He explained he was traveling in Spain and needed her to transfer $2,200 via Western Union because he caused a traffic accident. A second offender introduced himself as a lawyer and said the $2,200 would go to pay for his fees. The victim went to the Western Union office that the offender recommended, wired the funds and called him with receipt number.


Later the grandmother received another phone call and the offender/fake grandson asked for another $2,200 to avoid a civil case. She again wired the funds and called with the receipt number. When she did not get a third call letting her know her grandson was released, she called her real grandson directly. Her real grandson was at college and had never been in a crash, arrested; and had not been traveling in Spain.

The Grandmother Scam or Grandparent Scam is a common scam. There are a variety of fictitious scenarios that are schemed up with different claimed locations and countries, a variety of reasons why the money is needed, and a variety of amounts.

The scam is known as the ‘Grandparent Scam’ or the ‘Emergency Scam.’

Tips to protect against this the ‘Grandparent Scam’:
• Don’t fill in the blanks for the caller: If the scammer asks a leading question “Hello grandma; do you know who this is?” and he is provided with a name, he might go with that name. Ask a lot of questions, and those questions that have answers only your family should know: “Which grandson has been arrested this time?” You’ll learn quickly enough if it’s a con artist.

• Do whatever is necessary to obtain and confirm your relative’s whereabouts. Get off the phone as soon as possible and call your grandchild’s parents or your grandchild’s home, school or work to verify what you’ve been told.

• Don’t wire money. If a caller asks for your bank account number or urges you to wire money for any reason, it’s most likely a scam. Cons prefer wire transfers because they are fast, and funds can be picked up easily and just about anywhere.

If you are victim of a scam, make note of the caller ID number — if available — and report the incident to the police by calling 9-1-1. Most likely the call from the offender is blocked and shown as an ‘Unknown Caller.” Keep in mind that it is possible to fake a caller ID number — a procedure known as spoofing caller ID.

If you are a victim of this scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov, 877-382-4357 (877-FTC-HELP).

Anyone having information about this or any other serious crime in Arlington Heights should submit an anonymous text tip by texting the keyword 847AHPD and your message to 847411(tip411) or call Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers at (847) 590-STOP. Callers are guaranteed anonymity and may qualify for a cash reward of up to $1,000.


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IMPORTANT NOTE: All persons referred to as subjects, defendants, offenders or suspects, etc. are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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Anyone having information about serious crime in Arlington Heights should register on CitizenObserver.com and look for the anonymous TIP411 feature, or call Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers at 847-590-STOP (847-590-7867). Callers are guaranteed anonymity and may qualify for a cash reward of up to $1,000. Not a resident of Arlington Heights? Check CitizenObserver.com for availability for your community.

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