The Consumer Protection Unit of the Alaska Attorney General’s Office has recently received increased reports from victims of a “grandparent” scam targeting elderly Alaskans.
Scammers are calling grandparents in Alaska posing as grandchildren injured in car accidents in different countries. The callers, who often claim they sound different due to broken noses or other injuries, claim they are in the hospital or jail and pressure grandparents to wire thousands of dollars to pay medical bills or damages so they can return home, according to an Alaska Department of Law press release.
Other variations of this scam include instances where the caller knows detailed information about the person’s family. The scam is not limited to grandparents; callers may claim to be friends, nieces, nephews or other family members. The callers are usually overseas, using untraceable cell phones and fake identification, according to the release. Scammers often request payment through wire transfer, because once the money is sent it cannot be recovered.
The Consumer Protection Unit advises anyone who receives this type of call to hang up and not send any money. If there is any question that a relative may be in need of assistance, check with family members to verify the information.
For more information or to file a complaint, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit at (907) 269-5200 or visit www.law.state.ak.us/consumer or www.ftc.gov/bcp.