Arlington Heights police received a report that an 83-year-old Arlington Heights resident received a telephone call from a person claiming to be his grandson. His “grandson” explained he needed $2,500 in cash wired to Athens, Greece where he had been arrested for a drug charge. The real grandson was away at college. A second person claiming to be a Sergeant with the U.S. Embassy in Athens told the victim to call back when the wire transfer was complete. The victim did wire the money and call back. He asked if his “grandson” knew his home address. When the person hung up the victim cancelled the transfer without losing any money.
The crime is reported to have occurred about 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
THIS IS A COMMON SCAM!!! YOU SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS ANYTIME SOMEONE ASKS YOU TO WIRE MONEY FOR ANY REASON.
— Arlington Heights Police Department
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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