There really are some sick people out there. 

The Iowa Department of Public Safety just released a warning for a specific type of scam that targets the elderly, specifically grandparents. Officials at Iowa DPS say that while this is a new warning, the scam itself is not new. It has been gradually growing in popularity since 2008, but recent reports say "it is presenting a new twist."

This scam essentially entails someone calling up the victim, claiming to be a grandchild. The fake grandchild then tells their victim that they have been hospitalized, jailed, or even are being held in a foreign country; and need cash immediately from their grandparents.

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Officials are saying that these scam artists often use social media to gather information about that victim's family and their grandchildren. There are even reports that a second scammer could be involved, and this individual sometimes poses as a lawyer, doctor, or other official to validate the claims made by the initial scammer.

Reports from local law enforcement agents are finding that there is another step in this con. Now there are "couriers" who are going to this grandparents house to actually pick up the cash.

If you or someone you know is susceptible or already has fallen victim to this scam here are some resources:

Office of the Attorney General of Iowa

Consumer Protection Division
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0106
Email: consumer@ag.iowa.gov
Phones: 515-281-5926 or 888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines metro area)
Fax: 515-281-6771
Website: www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov 

Federal Trade Commission
Email: ftc.gov/complaint
Phone: 1-877-FTC-HELP
Website: www.consumer.ftc.gov/

 

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