Senior citizens have been scammed by random phone calls, usually in the late evening, from con artists pretending to be relatives needing money.
When the senior citizen answers the phone, the caller will refer to them as "Grandma" or "Grandpa," which sometimes leads the person to think it's really one of their grandchildren. When the senior citizen refers to the caller by a grandchild's real name, the scammer proceeds to spin a tale of deceit.
The caller will say he or she is in trouble and needs money immediately. They'll ask for a Western Union transmittal or even say they'll send a friend to pick up the money. The caller will sound frantic and tell the "grandparent" that they must act as quickly as possible and that they must not notify other relatives.
When the senior citizen receiving the call recognizes that the caller isn't really his or her grandchild, the caller will say they're a friend calling on the grandchild's behalf. To avoid being scammed, senior citizens receiving these types of calls should dial the grandchild's number after hanging up or call the child's parent to confirm the information.
For information on consumer issues, call the Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services at (727) 464-6200. Visit www.pinellascounty.org for easy-to-download complaint forms or for more information about your rights as a consumer.
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