This has become a widespread scam and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning grandparents not to fall for it.
“These people seek to profit from the love family members have for each other,” DeWine said. “It’s disgusting and can be very costly to grandparents trying to help. That’s why we keep getting the word out.”
DeWine held a news conference Thursday at a Walmart in Hilliard that included a citizen who experienced the scam, the chief of the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Section, the section’s chief investigator and Walmart associates who recently thwarted a grandparent scam attempt.
Almost 100 Ohioans have filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office about the scam. About $5,600 is lost on average. Some victims have reported losing $11,000 to $18,000.
“As we continue to inform people about this danger, and with alert associates and company training such as Walmart provides, we will make strides in stopping these scams,” DeWine said.
Earlier this year, two associates at Walmart in Delaware, Ohio, helped customers who had gone to the store’s money center to send funds to their grandchildren. The employees talked to the grandparents, explained the scam to them and saved them from losing large sums of money.
DeWine stressed that these scam artists are very good and victims should not be embarrassed to report them.
To report a scam, people may call 800-282-0515 or visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Suggestions for protection against this scam include:
• Be suspicious if the “grandchild” asks you to keep the situation between you and the caller — “Please don’t tell mom or dad”;
• Ask the caller questions only a family member would know how to answer;
• Don’t post upcoming family travel plans online;
• Never wire/transfer money to someone who calls unexpectedly, even if the caller claims to be a relative.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.