Staying alert to scammers

Published 5:12 pm Monday, June 25, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


A man trying to reconnect with his grandson admits his emotions got the best of him when a scammer took $1,000 from him.

“My grandson and I are not on the best terms and I was hoping this would show him I do care and maybe reconnect with him,” Richard said. For Richard’s protection, his last name is not being published.

It began with a phone call.

A person claimed the grandson was in jail and the ‘lawyer’ was trying to get “this wrapped up” so the grandson could be released.

However, the individual did not want a credit card number or a debit card but instead Target gift cards.

“I know the money is gone,” Richard said. “But I don’t want this to happen to someone else.”

He is not the first one in the area as another case was file a couple of months ago involving Walmart gift cards.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), one should never send money to someone you have never met face to face.

“Seriously, just don’t ever do it. And really, really don’t do it if they ask you to use wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card (those cannot be traced and are as good as cash),” it states on the BBB’s official website.

“Gift cards are an immediate red flag,” Orange County Detective Janois Grizzaffi said. “Also, if they ay things like ‘Don’t tell mom, don’t tell anyone’ that is a sign it is a scam.”

Grizzaffi added if the person calling you is asking for you to do this immediately, it is also a warning the call is not legitimate.

“Scammers typically try to make you think something is scarce or a limited time offer. They want to push you into action before you have time to think or to discuss it with a family member, friend, or financial advisor. High-pressure sales tactics are also used by some legitimate businesses, but it’s never a good idea to make an important decision quickly,” according to the BBB website.

Many times the scammers are able to gleen information from social media sites such as Facebook. Imposters often get information about their targets from their online interactions, and can make themselves sound like a friend or family member because they know so much about you.

If you have been scammed, notified your local law enforcement agency to file a report. It will also allow them to issue warnings about the ploy used to others.

This particular scam is referred to as ‘Grandkid Scams’.

Here’s what you can do according to the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. Stop. Check it out.

Look up your grandkid’s phone number yourself, or call another family member.

  1. Pass this information on to a friend.

You may not have gotten one of these calls, but chances are you know someone who will get one — if they haven’t already.

If you spot a scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261 or go online at