Police warn of ‘grandparent’ phone scam

Published 1:29 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Greenville Police Department says a phone scam commonly called the “grandparent” scam is making its rounds in the area.

Capt. Justin Lovvorn, commander of the Greenville Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, said the scammers pretend to be a grandchild or other member of their family and tell the targeted victim that they need to act quickly to help get them out of trouble.

“The suspects will often research family histories online to determine specific family makeups,” Lovvorn said. “They will then call a member of that family, usually the mother or grandmother, and claim to be their son or grandson. They go on to say they are in trouble and need their help.”

Lovvorn said the scammers then request money be sent to them or tell them someone else will be calling them shortly. The person who calls next will then request money be sent to get the “son or grandson” out of trouble.

“The caller will sometimes identify himself as Roger Madison and uses (240) 545-0312 as his phone number. This may vary, however,” said Lovvorn.

Police say that anyone receiving this type of call should never send money or comply in any way with the caller’s request.

“Make a note of the phone number used to make the call and contact us,” said Lovvorn.

The Better Business Bureau has this advice for people regarding the “grandparent” scam:

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild in distress, BBB advises that you don’t disclose any information before you have confirmed it really is your grandchild. If a caller says “It’s me, grandma!” don’t respond with a name but instead let the caller explain who he or she is. One easy way to confirm their identity is to ask a simple question that your grandchild would know such as what school he or she goes to or their middle name.

If you have fallen victim to the scam, BBB recommends that you report the incident immediately to local police and the Attorney General’s office.