Scammers use loved ones to eke money out of elderly

If you have an elderly family member with a telephone, they need to know about the family member in distress scam
March 28, 2014 8:28:04 PM PDT
A scam targeting seniors is on the rise in Houston with victims losing thousands of dollars.

If you have an elderly family member with a telephone, they need to know about the family member in distress scam.

Shirll, who didn't want to publicize her last name, says she fell victim to a scam after getting a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson.

"I said what's a matter with your voice and he said he had a cold and that he'd been in an accident and needed some stitches in his mouth and then he proceeded to say he was in jail in Mexico," she said.

Shrill says the person on the phone asked her to send more than a thousand dollars by Western Union. Shrill's family did just that only to find out her grandson is fine.

What happened to Shirll is happening to many seniors across the country and here in Houston.

"There are different types of scams that involve the whole 'Relative in need' scam, but the grandparents are the easy targets, the old people are the easy targets and that's why the scammers go straight for them," said Michelle Buckalew with Money Gram.

Buckalew says her company is so concerned about the scam it wants to spread the word about it so others do not fall victim.

"With a wire transfer, once you send a wire transfer it is like cash; you can't get that back," she said.

Buckalew says family members need to know how to get in touch with their loved ones so they can verify any distress claims before wiring money.

The best defense is talk to your loved ones. Tell them if they get a phone call out of the blue from a family member in distress, hang up and don't send any money to anyone.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13


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