3.28.2017

The 'grandchild' scam: when a thief calls on the phone and convinces grandparents they are in trouble and need money


Source:  wbrc.com/story/34989127/best-buy-employee-prevents-grandmother-from-getting-scammed

If you've read It's Just the Coffee Talking for any amount of time, you know I have a soft spot in my heart for the elderly and a hard spot in my heart for scammers, thugs and thieves.  Any time there is a scam going on in pretty big numbers, I like to help get word out... because I know for a fact my elderly father-in-law would probably fall for it.  They come from a different, more trusting generation.

This is a scam that has been going on for a number of years and all over the country.  I know many employees would probably feel like they *couldn't* say anything to a customer for fear of losing their jobs but I'm so very proud of and happy for those that do.

Like this employee who stopped a grandmother in California from being scammed out of $4,000.

Someone calls a target and claims to be their grandchild; saying he or she needs money to get out of a jail or any other situation.  Usually the the connection isn't very good and the grandparent is convinced it really is one of their grandchildren. In the past I've read about the scammer/fake grandchild either requesting an amount to be wired or sent, or asked for credit card information over the phone. 

This time they person on the phone says the best way to help is to go to the store and buy gift cards.

"....  "She wanted to buy four $1,000 gift cards, that immediately raised a red flag," said Marysa English, Best Buy employee.
"I stood right there and convinced her, please don't buy it. She was convinced her granddaughter was involved in some sort of scheme or scam,” English said.

She was able to talk the woman out of spending the money, and advised her to file a police report.

Aaron Prader, general manager of the store, takes pride that his employees are looking out for their customers.

“I'm super happy, I'm glad Marysa did what she did and started questioning it to find out if it was fraudulent or not"


English said to prevent scams like this, it's important for everyone to be aware, and keep an eye out for the signs.

"I absolutely think that word of mouth, and getting the word out that scams like that are going around are going to save people,” she said."





3.25.2017

Those Fake IRS Scam Calls: This time they called a cop

Another story I read this morning comes from wbrc.com/story/34990091/video-cop-calls-fake-irs-agent-back-exchange-goes-viral


Cop calls fake IRS agent back

Unless you are really lucky or live in a cave, you've probably gotten a call or message on your phone or machine from the "IRS" telling you to call them back immediately or you are going to be arrested.

I first heard of this about 10 years ago (around 2007 or so) and it seems it's just getting bigger. This time around however they managed to call the police department.  And of course the police officer who took the call knew it to be a fake.

"Kyle Roder received an urgent call from a man claiming to be with the IRS. The fake agent told Roder he would be arrested if he did not call back immediately.

Roder is the public information officer for the Eau Claire Police Department in Wisconsin. Recognizing that it was a scam, he called the number and recorded the whole conversation."

As the fake IRS agent (with a thick and heavy accent) tried to convince the officer to give up personal information, it was recorded and has since been very popular on the internet.  But I love it because it is a great teaching moment!  So many people are pulled in by these scammers and I've often brought attention to some of them on It's Just the Coffee Talking.  Hopefully someone doing a frantic search online after receiving a call like this will stumble upon the story and know to stop, take a deep breath and know it's not real.

".... A man with a heavy accent asked Roder for the case number. Roder said he didn’t have a case number. The man said he could look it up if Roder provided his address.

“But you said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house,” Roder said. “If you don’t have my address, how are you going to do that?”

Roder then asked exactly when he was going to be arrested and who, exactly was going to arrest him. He asked if he could just go to his local IRS office and take care of things. And by the way, what was the caller’s name and badge number?
The flustered caller proceeded to give him two different names, made up a badge number on the spot, said the local IRS didn’t have access to his case and that that the county sheriff would send somebody by to arrest him before close of business that day."

".... Roder asked point blank if the call was a scam – the news always reports that the IRS only sends letters and doesn’t make phone calls.

The caller said oh, yes, they do make calls in emergency cases where arrest is imminent."

*For the record, a deputy with the Eau Claire Sheriff’s office confirmed that no sheriff’s office anywhere serves warrants from the IRS.*

I'm not going to go back look through my files right now but I'm pretty sure I blogged about when a young guy (maybe 20?) came to my house to do my annual termite inspection.  We got to talking and this subject came up as he had just received a call like this and was very shook up about it.  He had an Aunt who worked at the courthouse and had called her to ask if she had any way of knowing whether or not this was true.

He truly thought he was going to be arrested if he did not pay this man on the phone a large amount of money.  (I assured him it was fake and to ignore it.)

I'm also very concerned about the eldery - who often fall for things like this.  Getting the word out to everyone is the best way to stop it from happening to someone we love or even to strangers if you are like me and don't want to see ANYONE get scammed.  Even an enemy or someone I don't like... I don't even want THEM to be scammed.

So spread the word.


And lastly, the article mentioned this...  "He also stressed that people who aren’t police officers should not string scam callers along. Just hang up."

Great advice.