Grandparent Scam Resurfaces in Portland

posted by Brad Ford -

The Portland Police Bureau would like to remind community members, especially seniors, that a common scam known as the "Grandparent Scam" remains active in our community. 

Police are encouraging everyone to share this message with family and friends who may fall prey to these scams. 

The "Grandparent Scam" has been around for many years and is just one variation of the impostor scams that dupe people into losing thousands of dollars. 

The typical scam involves a frantic call from a "grandchild" in trouble, or someone saying the grandchild is in trouble with the law, had an accident, or is detained in a foreign country while on vacation. These calls often come late at night and the callers express urgency and the need for an immediate wire transfer of cash to help the grandchild. 

The scammers are very crafty and are very convincing in many cases, so much so that victims truly believe the caller is a relative. 

In recent years, some scammers have hacked into social media accounts and will direct message friends and family with a similar and urgent need for emergency money. 

The latest version of this scam has the caller asking for cash and iTunes gift cards to be purchased and shared with the caller as bail. 

The Portland Police Bureau would like to remind community members of the following tips to avoid these scams: 

  • Don't send money. Never wire money out of the country to persons unknown. This includes buying reloadable Visa cards or gift cards. 
  • Be skeptical. Ask questions that only family members would know - like pet names or favorite foods - without revealing too much personal information. 
  • Verify information. Check with family members to confirm the locations of grandchildren. 
  • Stay private. Regularly update privacy settings for social media sites. Scammers often make their stories more believable by trolling for personal information on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites. 
  • Know where to turn. Victims suffering a financial loss should report incidents to local law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Attorney General's Office, Department of Justice.

The Oregon Department of Justice has a tremendous amount of information and resources available to protect consumers. Information can be found by visiting http://www.doj.state.or.us/Pages/index.aspx 

For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Scam Alert website www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts 

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