Attorney General warns of grandparent scam targeting Rhode Islan - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Attorney General warns of grandparent scam targeting Rhode Islanders

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By Alana Cerrone

Acerrone@abc6.com

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is warning Rhode Islanders about a reappearance of the "grandparent scam".

Scammers are targeting the elderly and typically start with a phone call posing as a grandchild in urgent need of money. Some scammers have even posed as a police officer or attorney.

The caller then claims an emergency has occurred and needs to be wired money immediately.

"We have heard reports of this scam nationwide, but lately there has been a spike of calls to Rhode Islanders, so we are warning the public to be on alert. This scam preys upon consumers' wallets and their heartstrings by making them believe something terrible has happened to their beloved grandchild," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Scam artists will try to make you panic, so you act quickly and wire cash. We are warning Rhode Islanders are to be on alert for this vicious scam."

In other cases, the caller will even claim to be a lawyer or close friend of the grandchild, saying he or she is in jail in a foreign country, or has been in a car accident, for example.

The scam can also happen via email after accounts have been compromised.

Attorney General Kilmartin has put together some potential warning signs and tips to help Rhode Islanders recognize and prevent this scam.

Warning signs: You're asked to send money quickly - and secretly. The call or message originates from overseas. However, be aware that technology allows scammers to bypass caller ID systems. The person can't or won't answer questions that only the real person would know. Any time someone asks you to send money by Western Union or Moneygram, it's probably a scam. You might also be asked to send a check or money order by overnight delivery. Con artists recommend these services so they can steal your money before you realize you've been cheated. Money transfers can be picked up at any service location as long as the thief/recipient has the confirmation number.

Tips:

·   Avoid volunteering information over the phone.

·   Always ask callers to identify themselves by name.

·   Ask for information that only you and people close to you would know. A real relative will not have a problem answering questions, but a scammer may not know that information.

·   Using a phone number you know to be genuine, call the relative or friend claiming to need your help to confirm whether the story is true. If you aren't able to contact them, call other friends or family members to confirm the situation.

·   Refuse to send money via wire transfer. If you have wired money and it hasn't been picked up yet, call the wire transfer service to cancel the transaction. Once the money has been picked up, there is no way to get it back.

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