March 11, 2015
Las Vegas, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt warns Nevadans about an old scam making new rounds in Nevada. Because the scam frequently targets seniors, the operation is known as the “grandparent scam.” A caller claims to be a relative of the alleged victim. The caller states he or she has been injured or arrested in another state or country. In many cases, the caller asks the victim not to tell any relatives of the caller’s situation, and then proceeds to ask the victim to wire thousands of dollars to someone claiming to be a police officer, attorney, legal aid worker, customs officer, or hospital employee.
“Nevadans are cautioned not to fall for these scams that prey on the impulses of well-intentioned relatives,” said Laxalt. “Scammers may collect personal information about you and your relatives on the Internet to appear more convincing. Should you receive a call from someone asking you to wire money, do not hesitate to ask questions or call the individual in question before taking any action.”
The Attorney General’s Office has seen an increase in complaints from Nevadans who have received calls from individuals claiming to be grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other relatives who have been arrested in in a foreign country and need bail money wired to secure their release. These scams are oftentimes elaborate, and may involve multiple calls. The initial call generally comes from an individual claiming to be a relative or an alleged police officer who has the relative in custody. The second call may come from a caller posing as an attorney, legal aid worker or legal representative. The caller requests funds be wired in order to pay for bail money or fines.
Before wiring money, first try to contact the friend, grandchild, niece or nephew directly to verify his or her whereabouts using the contact method you have used in the past. If you cannot reach that person, call another relative who may have information on his or her whereabouts. Never wire money to a foreign country or to someone you do not know. Treat a wire transfer as cash. Once the money is sent, it cannot be traced nor recovered. Asking questions and never revealing your personal information are other ways to avoid falling victim to this hoax.
For additional assistance, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit the FTC online here. If you believe you are a victim of this, or any other scam, file a complaint with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office here.