West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges residents to be wary of calls especially during the holiday season claiming grandchildren need help.
The advice comes as part of the Attorney General’s Holiday Consumer Protection Week.
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 in dire need of money due to an emergency.
Thieves have also been known to use the holiday travel season to scam senior citizens with calls that their loved one is stuck somewhere enroute to visit and needs money. This scenario often surfaces during the holiday break.
“Most grandparents would do anything to help a grandchild in trouble because they are incredibly generous to family members in need,” Morrisey said. “That’s why it’s so important to exercise caution when receiving such calls. Think carefully before handing over money in these situations.”
Scammers rely on the goodwill 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.
- Ask a question that only the grandchild would know the answer to such as a pet’s name, the child’s nickname or where they attended school.
- 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 prepaid debit card, regardless of who the requestor says they are.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit the office online at www.ago.wv.gov.