"Grandparent Scam" May Have Roots in Social Media

3 years 6 months 4 days 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
loading

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
ST. LOUIS (AP) — About 1,000 of St. Louis' delinquent properties are expected to face the wrecking ball to create... More >>
48 minutes ago March 26, 2017 Mar 26, 2017 Sunday, March 26 2017 Sunday, March 26, 2017 1:13:10 PM CDT in News
OZARK, Mo . (AP) — A southwestern Missouri man is accused of sexual misconduct involving a teenager who investigators say... More >>
1 hour ago March 26, 2017 Mar 26, 2017 Sunday, March 26 2017 Sunday, March 26, 2017 12:20:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
FORSYTH, Mo . (AP) — Authorities said a southern Missouri man told investigators he was either sleepwalking or dreaming when... More >>
3 hours ago March 26, 2017 Mar 26, 2017 Sunday, March 26 2017 Sunday, March 26, 2017 10:25:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Officers said a suspect is on the run after a robbery at an Extended Stay America Saturday night.... More >>
15 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:39:11 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A hearing for Sturgeon Police Chief Greg Halderman will take place on Monday. On the week of... More >>
18 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 7:16:00 PM CDT in News
LINN - State Technical College in Linn opened up its campus to recruit prospective students and to show off what... More >>
21 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:49:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fire Protection District said Saturday it is conducting a search and rescue at the Katfish... More >>
21 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:37:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Two men each are jailed on $750,000 bond after being accused in connection with the St.... More >>
22 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:38:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Two semi trucks and two cars were part of a wreck Saturday that closed westbound I-70. The... More >>
22 hours ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:23:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Republican-led Missouri Legislature will get back to a business-friendly agenda when it returns from... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:35:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:54:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — An activist who helped shut down a St. Louis-area freeway during protests commemorating the first anniversary... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:45:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a 15-year-old boy was killed and six other people were critically wounded... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:41:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – A group of local artists hosted a fundraiser Friday night, giving people people the chance to view works... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 5:40:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia businesses are coming together to encourage community members to lead healthy and balanced lives. Keystone Chiropractic... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 5:28:00 AM CDT in News
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Officials in a Kansas City suburb where a fire destroyed a multimillion-dollar apartment building under... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:30:30 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police say a man arrived at a Missouri hospital with his lips apparently glued together after coming... More >>
1 day ago March 25, 2017 Mar 25, 2017 Saturday, March 25 2017 Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:19:00 AM CDT in News
COLE COUNTY - Deputies arrested a man Friday evening for shooting a gun near Rainbow Hills Road, the sheriff's office... More >>
1 day ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:39:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
2pm 53°
3pm 54°
4pm 55°
5pm 58°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:00a
NHL Hockey
2:00p
PGA Tour Golf
6:00p
Little Big Shots
1:30p
Mommie Dearest
4:00p
La Bamba
6:00p
Mystic Pizza

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Little Big Shots
8:00p
Chicago Justice
9:00p
Shades of Blue
6:00p
Mystic Pizza
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld