Grandparents Scam: Know what it is so you’re not duped if you get the phone call

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – An old phone scam is making a comeback, and Sheriff Ana Franklin said at least two people have filed complaints about it in Morgan County.  A caller tries to use a variation of the “Grandparents Scam” to trick people into giving them money.

In the past, it’s been a person calling from jail, asking for bail money.  In this case, a “grandson” calls and says he’s been in an accident and needs money, and asks the person to send it to a “lawyer.”

In Morgan County, two people reported receiving phone calls from an out-of-state number.  In one case the number was from a 708 area code, which is Illinois. In that instance, the caller said he was the person’s grandson, and even, according to the reporting person, sounded like the grandson, but the voice was muffled and somewhat garbled. The “grandson” said he was in an accident and had been arrested in Georgia, and was in need of funds. They were given the number of a “lawyer” to contact and arrange to transfer money to them.

The Morgan County resident actually checked with their real grandson, and found out he was fine and at work.  The calling number was identified as (708) 515-4772. A search of that phone number lists it as being reported as being used in a scam of this nature 22 times since June 24, 2016.

Sheriff Franklin said these con artists use a variety of methods to gather personal information, usually social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They buy phone lists, use auto dialers and digital systems that alter Caller ID information.

“There is not a law enforcement agency in this country that will contact you and ask for payment over the phone for bond. Always be absolutely sure that the person who claims to be your relative is in fact who they say they are. Ask them a question only they will know. These con artists prey on the emotions loving and concerned relatives,” said Sheriff Franklin.  “While it is regrettable that there are people who take advantage of persons who care about their loved ones, it is simply a fact of life today. Please be on guard against this type of fraud.”

WHNT News 19 profiled this phone scam in 2013.  Please watch our report below and share it with your loved ones so they are aware of it.