Scam targets elderly

Mar 10, 2014

RALEIGH — Many seniors have been ripped off in recent years by scam artists posing as grandchildren. In most versions of the scam, the phony grandchild claims to have gotten into trouble while traveling overseas and needs cash to get out of the jam., according to the NC Department of Justice.

But some seniors knew that their grandchildren weren’t overseas, so the crooks came up with a new variation of the scam. Now the phony grandchild pretends to have caused an accident that injured a foreign tourist visiting the U.S., and claims to be in a local jail until he or she pays the tourist’s medical bill. The money needs to be sent overseas because the tourist has returned home to recover.

In both versions of the grandparent scam, the con artist is using a common scam technique: playing on the emotions of a potential victim, in this case a grandparent who wants to help their grandchild. And in both versions the goal is the same: to get the grandparent to wire a large amount of cash overseas.

Remember, once money is wired to another country, it’s gone.  Be skeptical anytime someone asks you to send money overseas, no matter who they claim to be.

Those who think they might have been scammed or contacted by a scammer should report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

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