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I-Team Waste Watch looks into grandparent scam

Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2014 |
I-Team Waste Watch looks into grandparent scam story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Newschannel 3 I-Team is on waste watch, with a warning about a phone scam going around that tries to take your hard-earned money.

Newschannel 3 spoke to victims of what's called a "grandparents scam."

It's happening more frequently across the country, and this time the victims are in Allegan.

In this case--much like what usually happens--it starts with grandparents getting a call from someone who sounds like their grandchild.

When the phone rang at the Allegan County home of James Brown and Marjorie Stevenson, they didn't recognize the number, but the man on the phone claimed to be their grandson Darius, and sounded like him and said he was in trouble in Las Vegas and needed money.

So James and Marjorie bought five $1,000 green dot cards, which can be used like cash.

They gave the person they thought was Darius the account numbers to the cards; only then did they call Darius' home in Michigan and find out he was not in Vegas and they had been scammed.

"It is very upsetting that they try to target grandparents because they think we're not thinking and probably we're not; I wasn't, but I did not feel comfortable with it; I did not feel comfortable with it," Marjorie said.

They were able to stop one of the cards from going through, but still lost $4,000.

Their suggestion if you receive a strange call is to ask a lot of questions.

"You know, just any personal questions, who was your grandpa married to or just ask them something personal to where a stranger would not know the answer," Marjorie said.

The Michigan Attorney General's office has put out a warning on the scam, saying you should be suspicious if any of the following happen:

  • A grandchild calls from a far away location.
  • The grandhcild says "it's me," or "it's your grandson," or "it's your favorite grandchild."
  • The grandchild is in some trouble or some type of distress
  • The caller asks for money to be wire transferred.

There was one case in Michigan where grandparents lost $33,000 in one of these scams.

The Attorney General's office recommends if you get one of these calls, hang up and find out where your grandchild actually is by calling them directly or through another family member.
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