Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Warns "Grandparent's Scam" Still Targeting Kentucky Seniors

Press Release Date:  Monday, June 07, 2010  
Contact Information:  Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


Attorney General Jack Conway warns consumers that the “grandparent’s scam” is still targeting Kentucky seniors and he believes social networking sites are a contributing factor.

General Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection has received several calls and an actual complaint from one Kentucky consumer who recently lost $6,000 after falling victim to the scam.  Reports of these incidents escalated in 2009 with 1,134 reported in the U.S., according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center (CAFCC). 

The scam works like this:  A victim (grandparent) will receive a phone call from someone claiming to be his/her grandchild.  The scammer (grandchild) will tell the grandparent about an emergency they are in, which may involve a car accident or having been arrested.  The scammer will insist that they need money to get back home or post bail, and will ask the grandparent to send money through a money transfer service, amounting to several thousand dollars. 

Recently, a Vine Grove, KY grandmother fell for the scam. In that case, the scammer, or “grandchild,” asked the victim not to tell her parents about the “grandchild’s” arrest for drug possession during a traffic stop.  The victim then wired $6,000 to Canada through Western Union.  Last year, a Louisville man also lost $6,000 as a result of the scam.

“Although it has been the subject of multiple consumer alerts, the ‘grandparent’s scam’ continues to victimize seniors by preying on their generosity and desire to help a beloved grandchild,” General Conway said. “Due to the wide availability of contact information on the Internet and through social networking websites, scammers are now able to retrieve personal information, such as family members’ names, by visiting Facebook or MySpace.”

New reports also reveal that scammers are now portraying themselves as policemen or lawyers calling on behalf of a grandchild.

Kentucky consumers are advised to obtain the caller’s name or ask a question that only a relative would know if receiving this type of call.  Also, contact your relative by cell phone to verify the situation. 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.