"Grandparent Scam" May Have Roots in Social Media

2 years 7 months 2 weeks ago September 20, 2013 Sep 20, 2013 Friday, September 20 2013 Friday, September 20, 2013 2:00:00 PM CDT in News
By: Hailee Hopkins, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Older Missourians are the targets of what's being called "the grandparent scam," which a spokesman for Better Business Bureau says may be linked to information collected via social media. 

Target victims get telephone calls from an individual claiming to be a relative stuck in a foreign country who needs money to return home, according to regional director Mike Harrison.

He said the most recent case happened in August, in eastern Missouri, when a woman got a call from someone claiming to be a grandson who was in jail and needed $14,000.

Although the grandmother was skeptical, Harrison said, the caller did have certain information that made the story believable. 

"The caller knew the grandson's name, the caller new other family members' names," said Harrison. 

The Better Business Bureau believes the caller found this information online by checking social media sites like Facebook, he said. 

A home health care nurse, who works closely with aging patients, said she keeps an eye out for potential scams. 

Mary Zeilman said, "Elderly people can't hear as well, they can't see as well, so all of the fast talk on the phone, it makes it difficult to understand what's being said to them."

Scams targeting older people strike close to home, she said. "My mother had her identity stolen."

The nursing director at Zielman's company said the best way to avoid falling prey to a scammer is to verify information.

"Call the business they say they are from, not from the number they gave you, but the number out of the book. Verify that it is someone legit calling you," said Trish Rockers, of Homemaker Health Care, Inc.

Harrison said if a caller refuses to give out information like a phone number or an address, than it's probably a scam. "Never ever give out your bank account or credit card information over the phone."

Other tips about staying out of a scammer's way are available on the Better Business Bureau website. 

More News

Grid
List
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — Southeast Missouri State University's new president says colleges and universities need to remove obstacles in the... More >>
36 minutes ago May 06, 2016 May 6, 2016 Friday, May 06 2016 Friday, May 06, 2016 9:19:47 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A 25-year-old man is dead and a 14-year-old boy injured after a shooting in north St. Louis... More >>
41 minutes ago May 06, 2016 May 6, 2016 Friday, May 06 2016 Friday, May 06, 2016 9:14:48 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A person suspected of robbing a St. Louis County bank has been arrested after leading police... More >>
8 hours ago May 06, 2016 May 6, 2016 Friday, May 06 2016 Friday, May 06, 2016 1:15:06 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - More than 180 local businesses are making contributions to public school students in Columbia, from teaching classes to... More >>
8 hours ago May 06, 2016 May 6, 2016 Friday, May 06 2016 Friday, May 06, 2016 1:08:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - For years, the Missouri Department of Transportation has said it doesn't have enough money. Now, the department... More >>
12 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 9:32:00 PM CDT in News
MEXICO - Officials arrested two people Thursday after finding methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia while searching a Mexico home. ... More >>
14 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 7:11:00 PM CDT in Sports
COLUMBIA – Columbia sewers are getting an upgrade in May as the utilities department finalizes the design plans for the... More >>
14 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 6:59:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has passed a bill with a number of provisions aimed at expanding access... More >>
15 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 6:48:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A measure aimed at helping ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft expand in Missouri... More >>
16 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 5:20:33 PM CDT in News
HAMILTON (AP) — A grain-handling operation is being planned in Caldwell County. The project is a joint venture... More >>
16 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 5:09:00 PM CDT in News
ROLLA (AP) — A Missouri man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a man sleeping... More >>
16 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 5:03:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — A new job description for the next University of Missouri System president says that whoever enters the... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:56:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Patrick Totten has been making memories in Columbia for almost three decades. He lived in Columbia since... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:34:00 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A bank robber who left a trail of cash as he ran from the scene of the... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:31:04 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Legislature has authorized nearly $1 billion for maintaining state property and constructing new buildings. ... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:28:01 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Jefferson City Correctional Center offender pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a female correctional officer. Joshua... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:22:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Dozens gathered at the Capitol to support reproductive and preventive health services. The group gave a... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:21:00 PM CDT in News
MEXICO - A Mexico resident won a top prize of $30,000 off Missouri Lottery Scratchers Tuesday. Jacqueline Duckworth bought... More >>
17 hours ago May 05, 2016 May 5, 2016 Thursday, May 05 2016 Thursday, May 05, 2016 4:01:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
10am 64°
11am 69°
12pm 74°
1pm 76°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
9:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show
10:00a
Crazy Talk
10:30a
Crazy Talk

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Adele Live in New York City
8:30p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries
8:00p
The Originals
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld