A New Twist on Grandparent Scams

June 06, 2017

Scam Alert

The Walton County Sheriff's Office reported an elderly victim has been scammed out of $8,000. The twist, someone came to her home to collect the first of two 'payoffs' in person.

The report says that she had been contacted by a man claiming to be a police officer. The scammer said his name was “Officer Russell Grem, Badge #6969” and that her grandson had been arrested. The scammer also told the victim she needed to come up with $5000 to keep him out of jail. The victim took out $5000 from her bank and the cash was retrieved in person by a “messenger”. The next day she received another call from the same number stating her grandson was going to court, and $3000 in Best Buy gift cards was required to keep him out of trouble. The victim, again, followed their demands and gave the card numbers to the scammers over the phone. The Sheriff's office reported that the gift cards she purchased were used in Virginia.

This is very troubling, not only does this scam take money from a victim but now the scammer is confirming they know where their victim lives. This is the first time we have heard of a 'payoff' being made at a victim's residence. Since it became known, the Grandparent Scam has been committed over the phone with scammers requesting pre-paid cards or wire transfers.

Along with local law enforcement, your BBB urges you to be cautious whenever you receive a call from someone claiming to be or calling on behalf of a loved one.

Tips to Spot This Scam: 

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Check out the story with other family and friends, but call directly. Don’t call the phone number provided by the caller or caller ID. Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly.
  • Know what your family members are sharing online. You may not have control over your family's social media accounts, but familiarize yourself with what they are sharing online.
  • A law enforcement officer will never ask for cash in the event a family member has a warrant.
  • Do NOT wire transfer or purchase gift cards for anyone claiming to be a law enforcement officer or any other government representative
  • Never give out or confirm personal financial or other sensitive information over the phone.
  • If you receive a call similar to this one involving law enforcement, contact your local law enforcement agency directly to verify any/all information.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker.

To learn how to protect yourself, go to “10 Steps to Avoid Scams”.