Jeff Downer There has been a widespread scam involving the posting of bail bonds overseas that I would like to alert folks about, particularly grandparents. This scam is not new but it doesn’t seem to be going away so I thought it is worth making sure folks were aware of it.
The premise of the scam is straightforward:
- A grandparent receives a call from someone pretending to be a grandchild and/or a person acting on their behalf.
- A false story is spun about the grandchild traveling to another country (usually Latin America), being arrested and needing bail money wired overseas.
- That time is of the essence is emphasized to create a sense of frenzied urgency.
- The grandparents are also urged not to contact the grandchild’s parents to avoid further family drama.
The steps to defeat the scammers are just common sense and easy to implement:
- Don’t get flustered. Take some time to think the situation over.
- Ask specific questions when contacted to verify that it is indeed the grandchild in question
- Try to call or contact the grandchild directly as well as other family members to determine what the true situation is.
- Ask law enforcement to verify the story.
Finally, the FBI has issued a bulletin describing the scam and outlining what to do when contacted by potential scammers and what actions to take if you are already a victim.