Personal Security Alert: Persons Claiming To Be Family Scam

by on February 10, 2011

in consumer

scam alertWhen I saw a Feb 3rd article in the Daily Post about a Peninsula (Menlo Park?) resident getting scammed for a large amount of money by a person claiming to be a family member, I found it sad and disturbing.

Phone Scam

What went down was an individual who was called by a person claiming to be (and sounding like) her 20-year-old grandson. He said he was arrested in Spain and needed money to be bailed out of jail. The scammer claimed he won a contest for a trip to Spain and that’s why he was there. The claim further went on to say that he and his buddy met up with some friends who later got pulled over by cops and the new friends had drugs in the car.

They asked for bail to be wired, then the next day, said the judge was making an example of them and asked for another $2500 be sent, and then a third call by the scammers asked for legal fees.

The poor woman lost over $10k in this deal.

Be aware!!!

The calls come in and they manage to make you think they are who you are. Back in high school, I’d call girls that I didn’t know and by the end of the conversation, with the right conversational approach, they were convinced they knew who I was, as “that boy in math calss” or what have you, because I pinged off of their questions to me, asking me things. These scammers are good.


They ping off of questions they’re asked and go with what they hear,

They prey on their embarrassment that their parents will find out, so they call grandparents,

They claim to be out-of-state or out of the country,

They ask that the victim tell no one in the family. << That’s huge! That’s one of the most common tactics. If you don’t talk to anyone, no one can tell you your grandson is right here, now! >>


This happen to a local realtor. If you know me, you know how I feel about realtors. But then I’ve seen in the paper that it’s happened a number of times now.

My advice…

Don’t keep it to yourself.

Make your “grandchild” give you information, don’t give them information by asking them questions that gives away details about the family.

Don’t give them their parents names with questions or statements. Ask them for their entire family’s name. The names of family pets, either theirs or yours.

Bank Scam

There’s also a different scam going on involving bank examiners and tests of bank employees, where you’re asked to go to the bank to withdraw money. Once you’re loaded and step outside the bank, victims have found themselves robber.

Don’t fall for scammers. If your grandchild calls, verify with your own kids where their spawn are! If a bank inspector wants you to test an employee, get a phone number, hang up. Look up the bank’s official phone number, talk to the manager and ask them what’s up.

Don’t take strange calls at face value. Test. Question and test.

[Daily Post, 2-3-11 edition, front page. Subsequent publications.]

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