March is Fraud Prevention Month - Don't be a victim of fraud.

I have heard on a number of occasions that some grandparents had purportedly received a call from a grandchild with some concerning news: that they were in jail.

This would unnerve any grandparent to hear that their grandchild is in jail.  But, to make matters worse, their grandchild required money to make bail.

“Why wouldn’t you call your parents?” those grandparents would ask.

 “Because I don’t want them to find out,” they would say.

 “Okay.  Tell me how to get the money to whomever so that you can get out of jail.”

This is all part of a script, you see, of a fraudulent production where the grandparent is just part of the dramatis personae.  No, the grandchild was not in jail.  The grandchild was not even in on the call.  But somebody was preying on the unwitting grandparent so that the wiring instructions for the cash would be followed and the money transferred.

Once the money is transferred, likely to another country and beyond the reach of local authorities, the grandparent cannot recoup it.  They have been defrauded.

 If you ever receive a call from someone who sounds like your grandchild, niece, nephew, or a good friend, do whatever you can to discern if the person on the other line is real.  Ask them very personal questions that only you and he or she know the answers to.  As well, ask for details about where they were in jail, what the charge is, if their rights were read to them, if a lawyer has assisted them, and how to contact the local police authorities in the jurisdiction in which they have been arrested and charged.  Obviously, if the answers are unsatisfactory, hang up.  You are likely being scammed. 

If the answers seem plausible, and if you are convinced your relative or friend is indeed on the other end of the line and needs your assistance, even if it means breaching the caller’s confidence contact a closer relative of the caller or your local police authorities to discern how they can act as an intermediary and to assist.  In the end, you have to protect yourself too.

Barry Yellin
Barry Yellin
P: 905.572.5823