MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Officials in Nassau County want to warn elderly residents about a phone scam after one woman came close to losing nearly $10,000.
The 86-year-old woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be an officer in the Dominican Republic. He told her that her grandson was involved in a car accident and she needed to send $9,800 to cover the damages, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
The woman immediately went to the bank and sent the money, but soon after found out her grandson was fine and it was all a scam.
Officials say the “Grandparent Scam” targets elderly people, often telling them their grandchildren are in trouble, typically in a foreign country.
Fortunately, the Nassau County district attorney’s office moved quickly and was able to recover the woman’s money.
“We had to get a court order and use the section of the law that is not often utilized, and thankfully because it was the same day the money was still in the account,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Others are not so lucky and never see their cash returned.
“We’re trying to make sure that people are aware of these scams,” Singas said.
The DA’s office offered the following tips:
· You should be wary anytime someone calls claiming your grandchild has been arrested or was in a car accident and asks you to wire them money.
· Ask questions that are difficult to answer, like what is the name of a person’s pet or what is their mother’s date of birth.
· Immediately call your grandchild and other family to verify whether there is a true emergency before you wire any money.
· If you do receive a call, take the caller’s return phone number and also the phone number on the caller ID.
· Avoid putting personal information, like vacation or other travel plans on social media sites.
· Grandparent Scam calls often come during school breaks and during the summer, times when a grandparent would believe a grandchild might be traveling
· If you’ve been scammed, contact the money transfer service immediately to report the scam. The money can be retrieved if it has not been picked up yet.