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