Grandparents, You’re Targets of a Scam

July 14, 2014

BBB Serving Central Virginia has received several reports of local consumers receiving “grandparent scam” calls in the past few weeks. The latest report was very elaborate. A Chesterfield County senior was called by a con artist about his grandson. The gentleman was told that his grandson was in legal trouble in a foreign country. The caller used terms like diplomat and foreign attorneys and advised him not to tell anyone. He sent three separate wire transfers, the first for $1700, and two more transfers for $50,000 each. The victim was instructed to send the money to a Hong Kong Bank.

In this case, the con artist used information that was very personal. The family tells us the grandson’s Facebook page contained some of the information the scammer used to convince the grandfather that he was making the request. The scammer knew what the grandson called his grandfather and what he did for a living. 

“We always advise people to be careful about what personal information they put out on social media,” says Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of BBB Serving Central Virginia. Unfortunately sometimes information is shared accidentally by a family member or friend.

The other reports BBB has received have been similar, but this is the largest amount of money we have heard about being taken in this particular scam. BBB is working with law enforcement and other government agencies on this issue. 

BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond and Tri-Cities, Charlottesville and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties, from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst.  The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business.  Core services of BBB include business reliability reports, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education and charity review. ###