“Grandparents Phone Scam”
The Flagler Beach Police Department is providing this awareness announcement to the public in an effort to warn and alert citizens in our community that there is a telephone “scam” currently taking place in the area. To date there have been no victims in Flagler Beach and we hope this information thwarts anyone from becoming a victim.
How this Scam Works
A grandparent receives a frantic call from someone they believe to be their grandchild. The supposed grandchild sounds distressed and may be calling from a noisy location. The supposed grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble and/or criminal activity while traveling out of the country, such as being arrested or in a car accident or needing emergency car repairs, and asks the grandparent to immediately wire money to post bail, pay for medical treatment or car repairs. The scammer typically asks for several thousand dollars, and may even call back again several hours or days later asking for more money. He or she may claim embarrassment about the alleged trouble and ask the grandparent to keep it a secret.
A slight variation of this scam may involve two (2) scammers; the first scammer calls and poses as a grandchild under arrest. The second scammer, posing as a Law Enforcement Officer, then gets on the phone with the grandparent and explains what fines and/or bond needs to be paid.
This nationwide scam has a common theme; money. The scammer always requests for the grandparent to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram or to provide bank account routing numbers. The wiring of money is like sending cash; there are no protections for the sender. Typically there is no way you can reverse the transaction, trace the money, or recover payment from the telephone con artists. Their goal is to take your hard earned money.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Be suspicious when you receive a telephone call where:
A grandchild calls you from a faraway location.
The grandchild says, "It's me," or "It's your grandson," or "It's your favorite grandchild."
The grandchild is in some trouble or some type of distress.
The caller asks for money to be wire transferred
Citizens in our community should stay vigilant and maintain a healthy skepticism should they receive telephone calls of this nature. If you receive a call of this nature please be cautious, hang up and call another family member who can confirm your grandchild's whereabouts. Try calling your grandchild at the telephone number you would normally reach him or her. Please remember to stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency.
Do not wire any money unless you have verified with an independent third party that your grandchild is truly in trouble and when in doubt, please contact your local Law Enforcement agency for assistance.
If you have any questions regarding this active phone scam, please feel free to contact Chief Doughney at (386) 517-2023.
Additional information on this specific fraud can be accessed at the following websites;
The Federal Bureau of Investigation; https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies/scams.html