Watch how the scam works here.
By Sharon Aron Baron
The FBI Miami has issued a public safety warning about a widespread fraud scheme known as the “grandparent scam,” in which victims are led to believe that their grandchild is under arrest and requires bail money. Scammers then instruct the victims to wrap the money in a specific manner and hand it over to a driver for collection.
From January 2020 to June 2021, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 650 reports of potential grandparent scams. These reports revealed losses exceeding $13 million, with over 90 victims losing more than $3.6 million collectively after money was picked up from their homes.
Zacharia Baldwin, the supervisor of FBI Miami’s complex financial crimes squad, stressed that law enforcement and legal professionals would never contact family members to collect bail money on behalf of a grandchild. Scammers often conduct extensive research on social media platforms and dating sites to make their demands appear more plausible and create a false sense of urgency, urging victims to act quickly.
To protect oneself from falling prey to such scams, the FBI advises people to be cautious when posting personal information online, as scammers can use these details for targeting purposes. Additionally, individuals should be suspicious of telephone calls that demand immediate action and request bail money for a family member in distress and should verify the situation by contacting the family member directly.
It’s also important to be wary of familiar-looking caller IDs, as scammers can use technology to “spoof” the number they are calling from, making it appear as a trusted number. Finally, never provide personal identifiable information or money to anyone you have only communicated with via telephone or online.
Those who believe they have fallen victim to a grandparent fraud scheme should report the incident to their local FBI field office. Additionally, the FBI encourages victims to report any fraudulent or suspicious activities to the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.
- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.
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