OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO) received a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about a “Grandparent Fraud Scheme”.
According to the FBI, the scammers will target the elderly in the United States in what officials are calling a “grandparent fraud” scheme. The FBI says the scammers are arranging for couriers to pick up bail money in person at the victim’s house.
The FBI says these scammers will call their victims and pose as one of their grandchildren, or another family member, who has been arrested and needs bail money. Officials say they may even pose as an attorney or a bail-bondsman and then make arrangements to send someone to pick up the money in person.
Officials close to the investigation say fraud schemes have accounted for the highest losses for the elderly in 2020. They say the elderly as a whole lost more than $280 million in fraud schemes.
The FBI says from January to June they got over 650 reports of scams that could be connected to the grandparent scams, resulting in losing more than $13 million. The FBI also says during that time, at least 90 victims said someone was sent to their home to collect the money.
The FBI has issued the following advise to help protect yourself from scammers:
- Be careful what you post online. Scammers can use details shared on social media platforms and
dating sites for targeting purposes.
- Be suspicious of telephone calls that require you to immediately take action and request bail money
for a family member in distress. Contact the family member directly for confirmation.
- Be careful with caller IDs that look familiar. Scammers may use technology to disguise the actual
number they are calling from (“spoof”) and make it appear as a trusted number.
- Never give personally identifiable information or money to anyone you have only communicated with by telephone or online.
The FBI says if you think you have been a victim of one of these grandparent fraud schemes, you are urged to report it to your local FBI field office. You can also report it online here.