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Be On The Lookout For Crimes Involving An Elder Fraud

The problem of "elder fraud" is real.  Here's an actual story that happened to a friend of a colleague.

The friend's mother received a phone call early one day.  An "arresting officer" told her that her grandson was arrested for drunk driving and had hit a car owned by a visiting Chilean.  In order to avoid jail time for him, she would need to wire $3,000 to a Chilean bank by noon.  She was instructed not to call her grandson (because his cell phone had been confiscated) and not to call his parents (because he did not want them to know).

Unfortunately, the grandparents believed this story and it cost them $3,000.

It is also surprising how the friend found out about the crime.  Her son just happened to call his grandparents later that day.  When they realized that they had been scammed, they swore their grandson to secrecy.  Fortunately, he told his parents anyway.

When the friend spoke to her parents, they were embarrassed, but also angry and defensive.  They emphasized that they were not losing their minds and didn't want financial control taken from them. 

Therein lies the problem.  Had the grandson not told his parents, this fraud would have gone undetected.  Embarrassment and fear frequently keep such crimes from coming to light. 

What can you do?  Knowing what may happen, you can be especially vigilant in trying to head off scams directed at yourself or your loved ones.

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