Police: 'Grandparent Scam' making the rounds in Bossier Parish - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Police: 'Grandparent Scam' making the rounds again in Bossier Parish


The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is warning that a scam targeting the elderly is making the rounds again in the area.

It's known as the Grandparent Scam. According to police, those who engage in the racket make phone calls to elderly people claiming to be a grandchild in need of a large amount of money for an emergency.

Common scenarios include claims that the grandchild is jailed in a foreign country and urgently needs bail money wired to them, or that they've been hospitalized and need money fast for medical expenses.

It's believed the scammers use marketing lists, telephone listings and information from social networks, obituaries and other sources to contact their unsuspecting victims in attempts to bilk them out of large sums of cash that can amount to thousands of dollars.

The scam is not new to the Bossier area. However, the Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force has received a few reports over the past several weeks of the scam resurfacing here. In one of those recent cases, a woman lost $5,000. With that in mind, the task force is advising residents to be aware of this scam so that they or their loved ones can avoid becoming a victim.

According to recent FBI reports, the "Grandparent Scam" has been around since 2008, but there has been a surge recently. Retirees are an attractive target for financial scammers. As noted by Western Union, emergency scams play off of peoples' emotions and strong desire to help others in need.

The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force offers these tips from to avoid the Grandparent Scam:

Do not fill in the blanks for the caller. The scammers usually do not know the names of the grandchildren, but are relying on their victim to provide that information. Ask them to give their name to you. If you do not provide them any information, they will likely hang up.

Verify the whereabouts of family members by calling other family members or the grandchild they claim to be. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller.

Never send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble.

Here are more tips from the Better Business Bureau:

Communicate. Teens should share travel plans with family members before leaving the state or country.

Share information. Teens should provide the cell phone number and email address of a friend they are traveling with in the case of an emergency. Family members should remind students to be cautious when sharing details about travel plans on social media.

Know the red flags. Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from a scammer posing as their grandchild. The "grandchild" explains that he or she has gotten into trouble and needs help, perhaps caused a car accident or was arrested for drug possession. The "grandchild" pleads to the grandparents not to tell his or her parents and asks that they wire thousands of dollars for reasons posting bail, repairing the car, covering lawyer's fees or even paying hospital bills for a person the grandchild injured in a car accident.

Ask a personal question, but don't disclose too much information. If a grandparent receives a call from someone claiming to be their grandchild in distress, BBB advises that the grandparent not disclose any information before confirming that it really is their 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 the grandchild would know such as what school he or she goes to or their middle name.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org

Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly