ALERT: ‘Grandparent scam’ hits Central Virginia

Posted at 7:01 AM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 14:20:23-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Con artists are preying on some of the most financially vulnerable in Central Virginia.  According to the Better Business Bureau, there have been two reported case of the "Grandparent Scam" in our area.

Here is how it works.  Scammers call an elderly person and pretend to be that person's grandchild.  Then, the caller says they have been thrown in jail in a foreign country and need money wired for their bail or legal fees.  The catch is that the caller asks the elder not to tell their parents about the situation.

Many times the calls come late at night when people generally are not thinking clearly, according to the F.B.I.

Tom Gallagher with the Better Business Bureau in Central Virginia said the two cases reported to them involved thousands of dollars.

"One was $1,500 and the other was $8,000.  That's just in the Central Virginia area.  People who have stood up, which is courageous, and said I was a victim," Gallagher said.

The F.B.I. has been tracking grandparent scams since 2008, and other several tips to avoid becoming a victim.

  • Resist pressure to act quickly
  • Try contacting our grandchild or another family member to see if the call is legitimate
  • Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash—once you send it, you can’t get it back.

For more information on the "Grandparent Scam" click here.

If you or a loved one believe you have fallen victim to the scam, you can contact the Better Business Bureau in Central Virginia at 804-648-0016 or text message the word "RichmondBBB" to 24587.