The “Grandparent Scam”

As lawyers working in the field of elder abuse in Georgia, we know that many unscrupulous con artists constantly attempt to take advantage of the vulnerable. It is even more tragic to hear about scams visited upon the elderly, who have worked and lived their lives, taking care of their children, sometimes serving in our military… and they deserve to be taken care of and loved by their children and grandchildren. They do not deserve to have that love of family turned against them in a ruthless scheme. Unfortunately, that is what happens in so-called “grandparent scams”.

A “grandparent scam” works with a stranger calling the elderly person, pretending to be a grandchild in trouble. Often, these con artists use social media to try to gain personal information, starting the conversation on the phone with something generic, like “Hi it’s your favorite grandson!” hoping to get a name in response. They then claim to be in some kind of trouble, and tell the elderly person “not to tell mom and dad”, because they don’t want to worry them or get into trouble. Sometimes these schemes try to get the money sent out of the country – often to Mexico or another Latin American country. Other times, however, the scam remains in the U.S.

One instance connected to Georgia occurred earlier this year when an 84-year-old Seattle man was scammed by someone claiming to be his grandson, Ryan, stuck in a Georgia jail. The fake Ryan claimed he had been drinking and driving while attending a wedding in Georgia and had hit a pedestrian. He claimed to be in jail and asked for $4,300 to be sent for bail money. The worried grandfather told reporters in Seattle, “I felt so concerned about my grandson. I wanted to do the right thing to get him released and home as soon as possible.” Over the next several days, the grandfather sent more than $84,000 to help his “grandson” get out of what he thought was serious legal trouble in Georgia. Then the real Ryan, his actual 17-year-old grandson, called him and said he had been in Seattle the whole time and was in no trouble at all. Washington State’s Assistant Attorney General, Doug Walsh, said in response to this terrible case that there are millions of these scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission every year, and that hundreds of thousands of “grandparent scams” are attempted everyday across the country.scam2.jpg

Georgia is also trying to combat these scams, and just this month Central Georgia’s Better Business Bureau issued a warning that these scams are on the rise and gave information on how to identify red flags.

Atlanta Elder Abuse Attorneys
If you have a parent or grandparent who has been the victim of one of these scams, the Georgia elder abuse attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter can help you determine what to do next and how to pursue legal options. Please call us at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

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