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Monday, August 3, 2015

Scammers Target Seniors in “Grandson Scam” Plaguing Pasadena Area

Local law enforcement is investigating a recent rash of calls to senior citizens in Altadena purportedly from scammers connected to a “grandparent scam” exposed about a year ago in some parts of the United States and Canada.

In California, a CBS News documentary in April of 2014 exposed this type of fraud by showing how one 31-year-old man victimized several elderly citizens by calling them pretending he was their grandson and asking for money to pay for damages because he had been involved in an accident or was in trouble with the law.

The man revealed details of the scam while incarcerated after having been charged for multiple cases of fraud. He said as many as one in every 50 elderly citizens have been duped in several areas in North America and that scammers could make as much as $10,000 a day victimizing several people.

In Altadena, Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Paige said they are awaiting formal complaints from a couple of residents who said they had been contacted by scammers using a similar made-up scenario of a grandson in trouble and in need of money. One way to get rid of these scammers is to report them immediately.

“If anything pops up, just call the station or call whatever authority or call back the official channels and checked the information,” Paige said.

A male resident emailed Altadena Now recently to reveal he had been receiving as many as two calls in the past three weeks from people who identify themselves as his grandson and asking for money to be sent through money-sending services.

“You get a call from a number that you can’t trace, blocked or whatever, and a little squeaky voice that says, ‘Grandma or grandpa,’ and the scams works that they get the grandparent to state the grandkid’s name and then they take on that name. And they’re in trouble, in police out of the country, Mexico, Canada, wherever. They need money, they need to be sent via Western Union, and that’ll let the police get them out of trouble,” the resident stated.

He has not given in to these scammers but would like to warn other people to prevent anyone being victimized.

The grandparent scam is one of several scams exposed recently that has victimized senior citizens and defrauded them of some $3 billion in the past several years.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has launched a nationwide anti-fraud campaign, the Fraud Watch Network, that guards against scams not only targeted toward elderly people but all ages. Even non-members of the AARP can provide information about scams or receive fraud alerts by calling the AARP Foundation Fraud Alert Center at 1-800-646-2283, or visiting the network website, www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

The Altadena Sheriff’s Station will also be willing to accommodate and act on similar scam reports. Their phone number is (626) 798-1131.

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