The “Grandparent Scam” usually starts with a phone call from a con posing as a grandchild in need of bail money. Other victims of the grandparent scam have reported receiving phone calls from scammers posing as police officers or attorneys. In every case, the con says money needs to be sent immediately by Western Union or Moneygram.
A Tumwater couple recently lost $2,800 after they received a call from someone they thought was their grandson.
The con likely didn’t know their grandson’s name when he placed the call, which began:
The victim in this case, who has several grandchildren, asked who was calling.
“Guess,” said the caller.
“Kyle?” said the well-meaning grandmother.
“Yes, it’s Kyle,” came the reply.
The pretend “Kyle” said that he and a friend had been vacationing in Spain. Customs agents arrested them at the airport after they found marijuana in his friend’s luggage. He begged his grandparents not to tell anyone.
The grandfather took over from there. He thought to ask some questions to confirm the caller’s identity, but “Kyle” had an excuse for everything: He didn’t sound like himself because he had a cold. He was too distraught to remember the name of the family’s recently deceased dog. When asked for his middle name, he said customs agents wouldn’t allow him to provide it for security. When pressed, he wept, “Don’t you believe me?”
A “customs agent” then joined the conversation and said Kyle was headed to court and would likely be found innocent, but that bail money was needed before he could leave. He told Kyle’s grandfather where to send the money and where to call with the confirmation number.
“It seemed like they had an answer for everything,” said Kyle’s grandfather.
After he sent the money, he had doubts and called his daughter. The real Kyle was at home. The fake one called the next morning with another sob story about he had missed his plane and needed more money.