Brooks Warns About Grandparent Phone Scam

HARRISBURG – (July 12, 2019) After two area grandparents reported intimidating phone calls, in which the caller demanded money for a grandchild in trouble, Sen. Michele Brooks reminds consumers that fraudulent callers are impersonating law enforcement agents or grandchildren– and telling recipients they need to send money right away or risk imprisonment for them or their grandchild.

“This is a scam,” Sen. Brooks underscored. “The callers know a great deal of your personal information, including the full name of your grandchild, which makes this latest scam particularly believable, so I wanted everyone to know these calls are occurring in our area.”  

One recent near-victim was a local woman who said someone called her, told her that her grandson had been stopped for speeding, and it was discovered that a friend had narcotics in the car. They said he needed bail money from her instantly in the form of gift cards in order to keep his record clean. 

In one case, a grandmother received a call that her grandchild was injured in a car accident and then the “child” was placed on the phone to ask for money. The scammers explained away his altered voice by saying he sustained a broken nose in the accident.  

In many cases, the scammer will put someone who is impersonating your grandchild on the phone. Because the person on the phone is crying, it will be difficult to detect if it is your grandchild, but the call will pull on your heartstrings and create a sense of urgency. 

“If you are certain that it is a scammer, hang up,” Brooks said.  “Do not try to talk with or scold them because this will most likely escalate the situation and could lead to more threats and more trouble.”

The Bureau of Consumer Protection offered these red flags for consumers:

*The caller creates a sense of urgency to send money immediately.

*The caller will be reluctant to answer questions if you request more information.

*The caller will instruct you to either wire money or provide numbers from a prepaid Visa card over the phone.

*The caller may ask for credit or bank account numbers. NEVER give out any personal information over the phone. Credible agencies will never ask you for this information.

If you believe you have been the target of one of these calls, you can visit the website below to file an official scam complaint form for the PA Attorney General’s office to review.

https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/scams-complaint/

If you need help filling out the form or have questions, please feel free to call Sen. Brooks’ offices.

Victims may also call 800-441-2555 or email scams@attorneygeneral.gov.

“With new technologies being misused in devious ways for scams like spoofing, please be aware of these criminal tactics and know the best ways to protect yourself from being victimized and your savings from being drained,” Sen. Brooks said.

Contact: Diane McNaughton                                                  dmmcnaughton@pasen.gov

            717-787-1322