Attorneys General Morrisey Warns Consumers to Be Wary of Grandparent Scam

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CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges residents not to be fooled by callers alleging to be grandchildren in need of help.

Scammers have been known to call senior citizens pretending to be their grandchild. They often claim to be out of state or country and in dire need of money due to an emergency.

“Most grandparents are incredibly generous and would do anything to help a grandchild in trouble,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Those receiving such calls must be cautious. Think carefully before handing over money in this situation.”

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recently received reports of the scam circulating in the state. Other popular times for the scam to surface are during vacation season and when students head off to college.

Scammers rely on the good-will of grandparents to shield grandchildren from potential punishment. This may result in those receiving such calls deciding not to check with the child’s parents.

Consumers can follow these tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Stay calm and don’t react out of immediacy.
  • Get a call-back number.
  • Call the grandchild’s known number or other family members to see if there really is an emergency.
  • Never give bank routing numbers or credit card numbers to anyone via phone.
  • Be skeptical of any request for a wire transfer or to use a pre-paid debit card, regardless of who the requestor says they are.
  • Do not wire money until a third party verifies the alleged child really is in trouble. Check local jails and/or hospitals.

Consumers who believe they have been the victim of this scam can call the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit www.wvago.gov.

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