Local grandmothers being bilked for thousands of dollars
A Greenville grandmother known for her loving and caring ways was bilked out of $5,000 Tuesday, Jan. 10. And she is not the first Indian Valley or Plumas County resident to fall victim to this new sort of a scam.
Money she thought was going to help her grandson out of a jam in Reno actually went to someone in Perú.
Sheriff’s Deputy Phil Shannon and Evergreen Market manager Nathan Tucker were visibly frustrated by the event, and they want residents to be more aware of these scammers.
This time the scammer was able to dupe not only the grandmother, but two friends as well.
Tucker tried to discourage the grandmother, like he has done with other residents in the past.
One time it was a man, and even though he was angry at Tucker, he went home and checked it out, like he was told.
“He actually came back and thanked me,” Tucker said. “It was a scam.”
Tucker tried to share with the grandmother stories about such scams that began locally about two years ago and have increased in frequency.
She was adamant that it was her grandson on the phone, the scammer sounded just like him and knew a lot too, like where he went to school.
Shannon said this kind of scenario is played out the most right now, with a grandson who has been in a wreck or jailed on one end of the line, and his emotional crying adds urgency to the situation.
The grandson will hand the phone off to his “attorney,” who will then instruct the grandmother where to send the money.
Then they will call again and ask for more money, to pay for some unexpected expense, or to settle the matter out of court.
Deputies have successfully traced such a call, only to find a bogus address.
Otherwise none of these fraud cases have been successfully closed.
Another scam is one where a caller notifies the resident about a big prize he or she won, and that the person needed to call a number and provide identification information in order to collect the winnings.
“There are so many scams out there,” Shannon said.
Information is so easy to get off the Internet, he added.
“Go ahead and try it for yourself,” he added. “Go on the Internet and research someone.”
Often a free people search will turn up the person, an address, phone number and the names and ages of family members.
It’s important to get the word out so more people are aware about these scams, he said.
“We get weekly calls about possible scams,” Shannon finished.
It’s that frequent.
Is it a scam?
Residents who receive such calls from a grandchild in distress, a prize notification or any other suspicious call are urged to check first, before doing anything else.
Call the grandchild or the parents, or look up the number and call the company offering the prize.
Since the grandparent scams use Western Union for funds transfers, there is information about fraud on their website at westernunion.com.
Following are Western Union tips to help protect you from fraud:
—Only send money to people you personally know and trust.
—If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
—Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on lottery or prize winnings.
—Never provide your banking information to unknown individuals or businesses.
—Never send money in advance to obtain a loan or credit card.
—Verify every emergency situation before sending money.
—Never send funds from a check in your account until it officially clears, which can take weeks.
—Remember it is illegal to send money for any gambling or other activities prohibited by law.
To report possible fraud, call the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office at 283-6375.