Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Issues New Alert to Kentucky Seniors with Resurgence of "Grandparent's Scam"

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, June 29, 2011  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


Attorney General Jack Conway is alerting Kentucky consumers to a resurgence of the "grandparent's scam" targeting senior citizens. General Conway's Office of Consumer Protection has received nearly a dozen complaints this year related to the "grandparent's scam" with victims reporting losses of nearly $40,000. Four of the complaints were received within the last month.

"The 'grandparent's scam' continues to target our senior citizens by preying on their generosity and desire to help a family member in need," General Conway said. "Because of the wide availability of contact information available on the Internet and through social-networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, many scammers are able to provide specific names of family members and other personal information as part of their scam."

In one recent case, a Ft. Mitchel, Ky. woman reported being scammed out of $4,800 after agreeing to wire money to someone who claimed to be her grandson. The "grandson" said he had been in an accident in Mexico City and asked that money be sent to him through a money transfer service. The victim complied with the request and wired the money.

Other Kentucky victims of the "grandparent's scam" include an Owensboro man who lost more than $8,100, a Benton woman who wired $6,000 to someone pretending to be her grandson and a Jenkins grandmother who thought she was wiring $3,000 to her grandchild in Spain following a DUI arrest.

"Wiring money is one of the most common ways consumers lose money to con artists as the funds are rarely recoverable," General Conway said. "I strongly encourage seniors who receive a call like this to verify the caller's identity. Also ask a question that only the grandchild would know or contact a relative to verify the situation."

New reports also reveal that scammers are portraying themselves as policemen or lawyers calling on behalf of a grandchild. The scammers are often difficult to track down as many of the calls originate overseas.

All consumers should also check the security settings on social-media accounts. Privacy settings should only allow confirmed friends to access personal information.

Consumers who suspect they have been a victim of a scam can call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 or visit http://ag.ky.gov/civil/consumerprotection/.