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Grandparent Scam
updated: Dec 12, 2012, 1:25 PM

Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department

Emergency or "Grandparent" Scam

Santa Barbara- The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office wants to make everyone aware of the latest "Emergency Scam" or sometimes referred to as the "Grandparent Scam" that has been around for years but, has recently been occurring here in the Santa Barbara area.

We want to warn and caution the public to be on alert after noting a marked increase in the number of complaints the Sheriff's Office has received in the last two weeks. In the typical scenario, a grandparent receives a phone call from a con-artist claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. The caller goes on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. Typically they claim being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money. Wanting to help their grandchild, the victim sends money by a money transfer company such as Money Gram or Western Union.

The purpose of this News Release is to educate the public about specific fraudulent marketing and identity theft. If you feel that you have been a victim of this scam, you are encouraged to contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center and file a complaint on their IC3 form, which not only forwards complaints to the appropriate agencies, but it collates and analyzes the data.

Our advice to avoid being victimized in the first place is to 1) resist the pressure to act quickly; 2) try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate; and 3) NEVER wire money based on a request made over the telephone or in an e- mail, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash, once you send it, you cannot get it back.

The Internet Complaint Center website is www.ic3.gov, the procedures and directions for filing a complaint can be made through this website.

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