Scam artists use Facebook for “grandma” scam victims

March 25, 2014 

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— Scam artists operating in Wake County and likely elsewhere are using Facebook as a means to perpetrate a longstanding dirty trick: Posing as an older person’s grandchild in trouble to ask for money.

“The scammer calls and acts as the grandchild of the elderly resident and claims to have been arrested in another city,” Apex Police Capt. Ann Stephens said in a news release. “The scammer then gives the phone to a second scammer who poses as a law enforcement official and request the elder resident send gift cards or wire money to bail out the grandchild.”

In this social-media-driven era, the scam artists are boosting their chances of being believed by scoping out family pictures and relationships on Facebook or other sites. That way, the caller can offer a grandchild’s actual name when calling about an “arrest.”

Police suggest that families limit access to their Facebook or other social media sites. In addition, the relative should confirm and report the situation through other means, such as calling local law enforcement, and never send gift cards, provide bank information or wire money.

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