Illinois police take reports of phone scammers looking for money

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Close up of woman’s hands with smartphone and unknown incoming phone call on it, fraud or scam schemes

ST. LOUIS- Phone scams don’t really seem to go away, they just reinvent themselves over time. Thursday, police in Mt. Vernon, Ill report taking calls from residents getting calls indicating a family member was in peril and needed money.

It’s a version of what’s been dubbed the “grandparents scam,” but can often ensnare people of all ages.

In 2013, FOX2 reported on a similar case that ended up costing a St. Charles senior $14,000.

The BBB offers the following tips on how to avoid the grandparent scam:

  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a family member and asking for money, do not disclose any personal information until you have confirmed who is on the other line. Sometimes, you can confirm the person’s identity by asking a question that the impersonator likely would not know, such as the name of his or her pet or details on your most recent get-together.
  • Before sending any money, call a family member to find out the relative’s whereabouts and notify the family member of the phone call.
  • Be leery of requests to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram or send payments via the use of prepaid cards like Green Dot MoneyPaks. Funds sent through these methods are hard to track and are rarely recoverable by law enforcement or banking officials.
  • In most instances, a scammer will ask that the call be kept a secret, especially from other family members.

If you are a victim of a scam, report it to authorities.

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