Grandparent scam reported in SD, again

The grandparents scam is going around South Dakota. Again.

Information from the South Dakota Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division says the scam begins with a telephone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or other family member. The caller requests money for a critical situation such as legal proceedings, theft of their personal belongings or medical conditions. Scammers are targeting their victims—most often senior citizens– using personal information from the internet and social media sites.

The Consumer Protection Division has received numerous calls from consumers who have received the grandparent scam call, with one victim losing $40-thousand over a three day span. The scammers told the victim how to package the cash, right down to how tall the stacks of money should be, how to wrap them in newspapers and how to place them in the shipping box.

Another example includes a scammer keeping a senior on the line for over three hours, while instructing her to go to different stores to purchase Google Play cards and then having the victim provide the numbers off the back of the card immediately when she left the store.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

• Ask several personal questions including something that only a grandchild would be able to answer like a nickname, name of a family pet or special family tradition. This will help determine if the call is a fraud or not.

• Independently contact the person claiming to be in distress to verify whether or not assistance is needed.