$55K Wire Transfer Failure Saves Woman from Being Scammed by “The Grandparent Scam”

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After a string of scams this week — none known to be connected — a 79-year-old Mount Prospect woman almost lost $55,000 in a common phone scam known as the Grandparent Scam. The victim fell for the scam, but an electronic wire transfer of $55,000 failed.

A male offender phoned the victim about 9:00 a.m. Monday, March 17, 2014 claiming to be her grandson. The man posing as her grandson told her he had been arrested in Minnesota after a vehicle crash that seriously injured the other driver.

The fake grandson handed the phone to another impostor claiming to be a public defender, who told the victim that in order to rescue her grandson, she needed to send money to an individual in Canada. The victim rushed to her bank and withdrew $55,000, and then wired the money to Royal Bank of Canada from a Mount Prospect branch of Bank of America, according to a police report.

A transmission error caused the wire transfer to fail. When the woman received another call from the scammer telling her about the error message, she became suspicious enough to contact her grandson. Her grandson said he had not been in an accident.

No wire transfer was re-transmitted, and the incident was reported to the Mount Prospect Police Department. Police contacted Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada personnel. The woman did not lose the $55,000, but was charged a small processing fee.

As of Friday April 4, 2014 at 3:15 p.m., no alert regarding this scam was posted on the official Mount Prospect Police Department Twitter account (Twitter.com/MountProspectPD)

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