NEWS RELEASE: Attorney General's Office
(Cheyenne, WY) Con artists are scamming Wyoming grandparents out of thousands of dollars by posing as grandchildren in distress. The Wyoming Attorney General's Office has recently seen a rise in the number of this type of scam and suspects that the number will increase even more over the holiday season.
The typical scam occurs when a grandparent receives a telephone call from someone who falsely identifies themselves as their grandchild and tries to persuade the grandparent to quickly wire money to get the grandchild out of a bind. The supposed grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble while traveling in Canada, Mexico or overseas, such as being arrested or in a car accident or needing emergency car repairs, or sometimes the supposed grandchild even claims to be in the local jail. The grandchild asks the grandparent to immediately wire money to post bail or pay for medical treatment or car repairs or a return plane ticket. The scammer typically asks for several thousand dollars, and may even call back again several hours or days later asking for more money. The caller will tell the grandparent not to call the grandchild's parents, and not to talk to anyone about the matter.
A variation of the scam may involve two scammers -- the first scammer calls and poses as a grandchild in distress. The second scammer, posing as a law enforcement officer, lawyer or governmental authority then gets on the phone with the grandparent and explains what fines need to be paid. Alternatively, the scammer may pretend to be a family friend or neighbor.
The scammer typically requests that the grandparent wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram or provide bank account routing numbers. Typically you cannot recover wired money.
If you receive a call like this, resist the pressure to act quickly, and take steps to verify the status of your grandchild with another family member. Be suspicious when you receive a telephone call where the grandchild calls from a far away location, asks for money to be wired or starts the conversation by saying, "it's me" or "it's your grandson" instead of stating their name.