Taking Back the ID

Grandparents' scam revisited and jury-duty fraud

During an interview with Gary Harper, the senior consumer and investigative reporter for KTVK-TV’s “3 On Your Side,” Irma Orozco, a Phoenix, Arizona, grandmother with a big family, recounted last summer how she’d recently received a telephone call from someone she thought was her adult grandson, Jack. She was so excited because her grandchildren seldom called because of their busy schedules. However, the person calling was a fraudster pretending to be Jack. He opened the conversation by saying, “I had a real bad accident.” Then another fraudster, who claimed to be Jack’s attorney, came on the line and told Orozco that she had to immediately come up with $7,000 bond money and deposit it in the fraudster’s Bank of America account. The fraudster called back and said he needed an additional $6,500; she dutifully transferred the cash.

Later that evening, Orozco called her grandson and asked if his attorney had received the money. Jack was befuddled. He said he knew nothing about “his attorney” or any money. They both realized fraudsters had ripped her off with the grandparents’ scam.

Targeting the elderly

The popular scam, which began about 10 years ago, is still claiming victims regardless of alerts from the media and government agencies. I’ve reported on this scam, but it’s important to address it again because fraudsters, of course, have devised a new-and-improved version that makes the voices of the targeted “grandchildren” even more believable.

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