The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is advising residents about a scam that preys on the elderly which has once again made an appearance in Bossier Parish.
It's known as the Grandparent Scam. Those who engage in this 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.
Some tips to avoid the Grandparent Scam are:
- 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.
The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is composed of white collar crime investigators with the Bossier City Police Department and Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. Bossier City Chief of Police Shane McWilliams and Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington formed the task force by combining resources from both agencies to combat crimes such as identity theft, fraud and embezzlement with the city and parish.