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Fauquier residents hit by ‘The grandparent scam’

Thursday, Feb. 6 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office would like to promote public awareness of an old scam that has resurfaced with more sophistication and ingenuity thanks to the internet and social media networking sites.

Often called “The Grandparent Scam,” the scam and scam artists have become better by using information gleaned from the victim’s own unknowing relatives and friends. Just like the “Emergency Scam” which uses a false claim of a relative with a medical emergency, the Grandparent Scam starts with a phone call:

You’re a grandparent, and you get a phone call from someone who identifies himself as your grandson. They say something like, “I’ve been arrested and need money wired quickly to pay my bail, and oh by the way, don’t tell mom or dad.” Sometimes a caller will pretend to be an arresting officer or judicial official. They use the grandchild’s name and other information easily obtained from social media and/or the internet, and they sound very convincing.

"These calls often happen late at night or early in the morning when you’re not thinking clearly," said Lt. James Hartman in a release. If you're confronted with such a call, resist the urge to act quickly. Research and call the grandchild; we all have cell phones these days. Call the grandchild’s parents even though they asked you not to. Often one phone call to verify this emergency is all it takes to reveal a scam. The financial loss to a victim is often several thousand dollars.

These scams are often difficult to solve or track down. However, please report any incident as we can work with our state and federal partners to analyze pertinent data and look for commonalities to hopefully link complaints to others to try to identify the culprits.

The "grandparent scam" and others like it have been around for several years now but have become more sophisticated. The Sheriff’s Office has received several complaints from Fauquier County residents who have recently fallen victim to this scam.

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