HARRISBURG – After two area grandparents reported intimidating phone calls in which the caller demanded money for a grandchild in trouble, state Sen. Michele Brooks reminds consumers that fraudulent callers are impersonating law enforcement agents or grandchildren- and telling recipients they need to send money right away or risk imprisonment for them or their grandchild.
“This is a scam,” said Brooks, R-50th District. “The callers know a great deal of your personal information, including the full name of your grandchild, which makes this latest scam particularly believable, so I wanted everyone to know these calls are occurring in our area.”
One recent near-victim was a local woman who said someone called her, told her that her grandson had been stopped for speeding, and it was discovered that a friend had narcotics in the car. They said he needed bail money from her instantly in the form of gift cards in order to keep his record clean.
In one case, a grandmother received a call that her grandchild was injured in a car accident and then the “child” was placed on the phone to ask for money.
Scammers explained away his altered voice by saying he sustained a broken nose in the accident.
In many cases, the scammers put someone on the phone to impersonate the grandchild.
“If you are certain that it is a scammer, hang up,” Brooks said. “Do not try to talk with or scold them because this will most likely escalate the situation and could lead to more threats and more trouble.”
The state Bureau of Consumer Protection offers these red flags:
• The caller creates a sense of urgency to send money immediately.
• The caller will be reluctant to answer questions for information.
• The caller will instruct the target to either wire money or provide numbers from a prepaid Visa card over the phone.
• The caller may ask for credit or bank account numbers. Never give out any personal information over the phone. Credible agencies will never ask you for this information.
Anyone who believes they are a target of scammers can file an official scam complaint for the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office to review at www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/scams-complaint
Anyone who needs help filling out the form or who has questions may call Brooks’ offices.
Victims may call 800-441-2555 or email email@example.com