Wed, Oct 28, 2020
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Willapa Harbor Herald • Town Crier
Traveler's Companion
(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577

Scammers targeting grandparents locally

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A series of phone scams targeting seniors in the area have been reported and residents are cautioned to be very wary of any calls asking for a transfer of money.

As recently as Monday, potential victims in the Vader area have been called by hoaxers stating a family member (usually a grandchild) has been traveling internationally (Canada, Mexico, or another plausible country for a young person to be visiting) and have found themselves in trouble. It could be a car crash, it could be they are in jail, but the target of the scam is told they can help their grandchild if they wire money (most commonly around a thousand dollars) for bail/travel expenses/medical fees and the like.

The target is usually told to wire the money to an account in a location not associated with the event itself (such as asking the target to wire money to Arkansas when the story is their grandchild has been arrested in Guatemala). If the target wires the money, the scam artists run off with it and the grandchild is usually confirmed to be perfectly fine and still in the country.

These sorts of tricks prey on the target’s natural compassion for their loved ones, and many seniors have lost thousands of irretrievable dollars this way. Those who become targets of such scams should remember to verify the status of their loved one before sending any money, by calling them or someone close to them to make sure they are safe. If the person on the phone becomes pushy and says you don’t have time and must transfer the money now, remember this: if you have time to go to Western Union and place a transfer, you have time to make a phone call.

Those who have been or become targets of such scams are encouraged to contact law enforcement promptly, as well as the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney’s Office at 1-800-551-4636. They document and track scam artists as they target specific regions.
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