December 23, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. -
Attorney General Chris Koster today issued a Consumer Alert warning Missouri seniors of a scam aimed at swindling grandparents out of their savings.
Koster said the scammers will place a phone call to unsuspecting seniors posing as their grandchild, saying he has been in an accident, is in jail-most often for drunk driving-or that the grandchild is in some other kind of trouble. He said the caller often says that the grandchild is in Canada and asks the grandparent to wire money there via Western Union. Koster said one worried Missouri grandparent wired more than $20,000 after receiving a call from her "grandson" saying that he had been arrested for DWI in Canada and needed her to send money.
Koster said that consumer complaint reports his office has received indicate that the callers have an uncanny amount of personal information about the family, often knowing the grandparent and grandchild's name.
"The fact that these scammers take advantage of a grandparent's love for their grandchildren by placing these alarming and frightening calls to con them out of thousands of dollars is simply unconscionable," Koster said. "I urge anyone receiving such a call to check with family members to confirm the call is a hoax. I also urge individuals to report the call to the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-8222."