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FBI warns of 'Grandma' phone scam

Posted: February 26, 2012 - 1:10am

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is advising elderly Juneau citizens to be on high alert for a so-called “Grandma Scam” whereby callers ask victims to wire them thousands of dollars for medical and/or legal fees.

Mary Frances Rock, the special agent in charge of the FBI for the state of Alaska, says con artists are targeting senior citizens in Juneau by phone, claiming to be a family member in urgent need of immediate cash to get out of jail or to pay medical bills.

“The caller, whose telephone number is blocked or appears as ‘unknown,’ frequently claims to be the victim’s relative who was involved in a car accident in a foreign country,” Rock said in a public safety advisory. “The caller may state he or she has broken their nose in the accident causing their voice to sound differently.”

The caller then asks victims to wire them $2,000 to $2,500 to cover medical and/or legal fees.

Anyone receiving this type of call is encouraged to hang up, especially because in some instances the caller will make repeated attempts to convince the victim that they are in need of money.

Victims who have been targeted in the scam are also encouraged to report it to the Internet Call Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or by calling 800-251-7581.

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