"Grandparent Scam" May Have Roots in Social Media

2 years 8 months 6 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

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
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old... More >>
5 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 11:10:23 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A 22-year-old man was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries Friday after he was shot twice.... More >>
6 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 10:52:00 PM CDT in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A man has been arrested and charged in the death of a man whose body was... More >>
8 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 8:15:25 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Friday as severe storms could bring more flooding throughout... More >>
9 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 7:38:00 PM CDT in News
CASSVILLE (AP) — Authorities in southwestern Missouri say an 8-year-old boy has drowned in a creek. The Missouri State... More >>
10 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 6:34:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Local troopers remind Missouri residents what's important this Memorial Day weekend while on waters. The Missouri State... More >>
10 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 6:01:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri mega-donor Rex Sinquefield is pouring millions of dollars into political committees before the Aug. 2... More >>
11 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 5:44:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri, man is accused of assaulting a female city animal control officer and... More >>
11 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 5:28:51 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A pursuit that ended with a wrong way crash on Providence Road on Wednesday morning led to charges... More >>
12 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 4:13:00 PM CDT in Target 8
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A prominent GOP political donor is again supporting Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder as he runs for... More >>
13 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 3:50:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster warned consumers on Friday about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam calls. ... More >>
13 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 3:35:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY — Boone County residents can now find out more than ever about who's detained in their county's system,... More >>
13 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 3:16:00 PM CDT in News
OSAGE COUNTY — Ron Dishman has officially taken over as the Sheriff of Osage County after Michael Dixon stepped down... More >>
13 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 3:11:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri public schools are expected to have higher summer school attendance rates this year, yet some officials worry... More >>
14 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 2:36:00 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD – United States Attorney Tammy Dickinson announced that James Laughlin, the owner of the 4-J apartment complexes in Pulaski... More >>
16 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 12:44:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDENTON – Chelsea Rae Ellis, a 28-year-old, was arrested after the Camden County Sheriff’s Department reported discovering drugs in her... More >>
16 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 11:53:00 AM CDT in News
MEXICO – Attorney Jacob Shellabarger announced Gary D. Johnson Senior, of Mexico, MO, was sentenced thirty years for child sex... More >>
17 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 11:35:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced Friday MU Law School Dean Gary Myers will resign effective Aug. 14. In... More >>
17 hours ago May 27, 2016 May 27, 2016 Friday, May 27 2016 Friday, May 27, 2016 11:31:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
5am 67°
6am 66°
7am 66°
8am 68°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Huntline TV
5:30a
Open House
4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
King Kong
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld