WV Attorney General warns consumers about scam catering to grandparents

West Virginia News

CHARLESTON, WV (WFXR) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging residents to be aware of a scam that involves callers claiming their grandchildren need help.

The scammers have been known to call senior citizens pretending to be their grandchild.

Others claim to be law enforcement with news about a loved one.

They often indicate the grandchild in question is in another state or country and is in dire need of money due to an emergency.

“Most grandparents would do anything to help a grandchild in trouble because they are incredibly generous to family members in need. That’s why it’s so important to exercise caution when receiving such calls. Think carefully before handling over money in this situation.”

Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division recently has received reports of the scam circulating across the Mountain State.

Word of the scam often surfaces during vacation season as students head off to college.

Scammers rely on the goodwill of grandparents to shield their grandchildren from potential punishment which may result in those receiving such calls deciding not to check with the child’s parent.

Consumers can follow these steps 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;
  • Ask a question that only the grandchild would know to the answer to – such as a pet’s name, the child’s nickname or where they attended school;
  • Never give bank routing information or credit card numbers to anyone over the 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; and
  • Do not wire money until a third party verifies the alleged child really is in trouble. Check local jails and/or hospitals.

If you believe you are a victim of a scam like this, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or click here.

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