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Don't let the 'Grandparents Scam' happen to you: Your Stories

It’s a scam that has been circulating for years. The caller – or emailer – tells the would be victim that their grandchild or other loved one is in trouble and the only way they can get out is to send money.
Manlius (WSYR-TV) - It’s a scam that has been circulating for years.

The caller – or emailer – tells the would be victim that their grandchild or other loved one is in trouble and the only way they can get out is to send money.

The scammers are preying on the goodwill and love of grandparents who will do anything for their grandchildren.

One Manlius man, George Torba, lost $1,700 in such a scam.

Torba says he received a call three weeks ago. When he picked up the phone, the caller was apparently in a panic.

“Grandpa this is Michael. Michael where are you? He says Las Vegas. I say your voice sounds different. He says I was in an accident,” Torba said, recalling the conversation.

Torba does have a grandson named Michael, but it wasn’t Michael on the other phone.

The scammer said he’d been charged with DWI and needed $1,700 for bail.

Torba was told to send the money to the Dominican Republic. So he went to Wegmans and bought a moneygram for $1,700.

Thinking his grandson’s well-being was at stake, Torba sent the money.

Torba isn’t alone. He’s one of many people who fall prey to the Grandparents Scam.

The Town of Manlius Police say the swindle is nothing new.

They receive reports of similar scams – whether by phone or email – on a weekly basis.

"If a relative calls you, call another relative and verify that person is on vacation and is actually in trouble,” said Capt. Kevin Schafer.

Police say you should verify the information before sending any money to anyone.

If the caller says your credit payment or your utility payment is past due, you should call the company to confirm that their claim is true.

In retrospect, Torba says there were red flags. He hopes to alert other grandparents to the same signals.

Local law enforcement agencies say it’s unlikely that the scammers will be found or the victims will see their money again because many of the swindlers operate out of the country.

For info from the FBI about the scam, click here.



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