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Telephone Scam
Old 03-13-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Telephone Scam

My 92 year old mother-in-law lives in a senior apartment in a suburb of Dallas. Yesterday she received a phone call from a male caller pretending to be her grandson who lives in Dallas. The caller stated that he (grandson) had been in a serious car accident in Kentucky and that he had broken his nose. The broken nose would explain why he didn't sound anything like her grandson on the phone! He further explained that he had lost his job in Dallas and had gone to Kentucky for a job interview, he had destroyed his car in the collision and needed her to send him the money to get home. He only needed $4,000 to get from Kentucky to Texas! He wanted her to go to Walmart and send the money from there to a Walmart in Kentucky. When she said she didn't have transportation, he impatiently said "call a cab and get me the money now". He instructed her to not tell other relatives because he was to embarrassed about his circumstances!

My mother-in-law may be 92, but she is still sharp, she contacted us first. One phone call confirmed that my step-son is fine, still employed in Dallas, and hasn't been to Kentucky in many years.

I have heard of these scams on the news but never thought they would strike my family.

We are wondering how this scam artist was able to get her phone number and the information about her grandson. Does anyone know how he would come up with that information? Has anyone else here experienced this kind of scam?
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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It sounds like it's someone that knows her grandson.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #3
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Or some serious data mining, which today is not to hard to do. In this case I would agree with bbbamI, however.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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I don't think that could be the case. We have a very common last name. There are pages of people with that last name in the Dallas phone book. My mother-in-law also has a common first name. Grandson's name is not a common name. Since they have never resided together, how could someone link them and their relationship.

Could they have gotten information from some financial instrument? She just filed new beneficiary papers with some investments. That thought scares me. If they can get the beneficiary info, they can get much more.
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Old 03-13-2009, 02:30 PM   #5
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Sure, or maybe someone in that office is "selling" the information. Or the documents are somehow placed on-line. A lot of ways, that is why the best defense was exactly what your MIL did (she should be commended) BEFORE ever moving the money.
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:04 PM   #6
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The most simple explanation is the best one. Someone knows either your step-son or your mil and was able to put the two together. Could be a friend of the family, another family member, coworker, etc. Con men are usually smart guys who are just too crooked to do a regular job. This is an old scam that goes back years, and has been around since long before the internet or identity theft. You mil is a smart cookie and pretty sharp for her age.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:51 PM   #7
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I can't imagine a friend of the family who would do such a thing. I would just bet that my step-son never/ever refers to his grandmother as "Sue" or what ever. The immediate family is small. She may have spoken to people about her grandson and called his name. That may be where it came from. You know grandparents, they are so proud of the grandkids, and talk about them so much you feel like you know them even though you have never set eyes on them.
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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I'm glad your MIL saw through that scam. My father fell into a phone scam when he was in his early 90s and it affected him so much that he was never the same after that. I still think it shortened his remaining days. This scam was based in Houston, and I complained to the Houston police but they couldn't do anything. If I ever see those b*s .... There's no lower life on this planet than someone who preys on the elderly.
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Old 03-13-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisinthru View Post
I can't imagine a friend of the family who would do such a thing.
And that is the reason these scams succeed so often. All this information is easily found on the web, or as public information at the courthouse. There are geneology sites, etc with more info than you can imagine. Plus, if it was a friend of the family, how hard would it be to sit down at the grandson's computer and see an email to grandma with an address of suesmith12345@hotmail.com, then put it together from that. Social engineering is still, by far, the easiest way to get the information needed to pull these despicable scams.
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