The West Virginia State Police has received a several complaints recently from the public concerning “Grandparent” or “Emergency” Scams. While these complaints differ in small ways, they involve an attempt to have the victim wire money to an account.
“On at least two occasions, residents of Logan County have been targeted for what is referred to as the Grandparents scheme or an Emergency Scheme,” said West Virginia State Police Trooper C.D. Kuhn. “These people call and try to get the elderly people who answer the phone to send them money. They are saying they are a grandkid and they are in jail or in a financial need of funds.”
In one recent instance in Logan County, a victim received a call that his grandchild needed money wired in order to get out of jail.
“In one specific incident, the victim actually sent $2,100. They ask that the money be sent by Western Union,” said Kuhn.
Kuhn said the caller sometimes disguise their voices by crying, to deceive the victim.
“The caller also keeps pushing the issue by telling the victim to not tell anyone else in the family — to try to keep it quiet,” said Kuhn.
In other cases, victims have been requested to wire money in order to help a family member who is in the hospital recovering from a medical emergency or the caller says they are a lawyer representing the grandchild. Most often these scams involve a request to transfer money via Western Union to an account.
“The one incident that actually did sent money sent it to New York,” said Kuhn. “Although he sent it to New York, Western Union can be picked up anywhere.”
Kuhn urges anyone who receives such a call to verify that someone is actually in need.
“Verify that family members are okay before sending money or try to get a phone number where they can call them back,” said Kuhn. “I know that the first person who asked for a call back number, the scammer hung up.”
Kuhn said the public needs to be aware that the scam is happening in the area.
“We’ve heard about it in all the surrounding states, but it is actually occurring here,” said Kuhn.
The West Virginia State Police urges residents to report such scams through www.wvcrime.com