Beshear: Grandparent scammers threatening seniors

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) Three Kentucky grandparents were robbed of nearly $18,000 recently after falling victim to a “grandparent scam,” according to Attorney General Andy Beshear who issued a statewide scam alert Thursday.

Six grandparents in Boyle, Butler, Fayette, Jefferson, Meade and Pulaski counties have reported the scam phone call.

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The victims say they received a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild who is in an out-of-state jail and injured after driving under the influence and wrecking. A second scammer joins the call pretending to be an attorney or law enforcement officer who confirms the story and requests the grandparent immediately wire money or send cash to pay the bail bond.

Beshear said the fake grandchild then pleads with the grandparent to not tell his or her parents or anyone else.

“Threatening and stealing from grandparents by exploiting the love they have for their grandchildren is a despicable crime,” said Beshear. “Sadly, the grandparent scam is a favorite among con artists and by simply taking time to talk with our grandparents about this scam we can all play a part in stopping it.”

Beshear recommends sharing the following tips with grandparents to help them detect and avoid falling victim to the scam:

  • Never trust anyone who randomly calls and asks you to send money via wire transfer, gift cards, cash or other hard to trace methods of payment.
  • Ask the caller questions that only the real grandchild could answer correctly.
  • Ask the caller to confirm what state and county jail they are being held and independently contact the jail to confirm.
  • Try to call the real grandchild to verify, or call a related family member at a known phone number to confirm the grandchild is traveling.

Beshear asked anyone with information on the grandparent scam to report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257 and complete an online report.

Staff in Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation, which is working to review the reports and assist each victim, said two of the scam reports originated from the same Pennsylvania phone number.

One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky families, especially seniors from scams, abuse and exploitation.

To help Kentuckians stay up to date on new and trending scams, Beshear urges all Kentuckians to sign up to receive Scam Alerts from his office. To receive text message alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468-311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select either text message or email alerts.

Media release from the attorney general’s office.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.