Phone Scam

A recent article in the Chillicothe Gazette (click), indicates a lady was scammed out of $3,000. The article states her grandson was being held in a Texas Jail, and that his attorney would call with information . Later, someone else called and asked for the $3,000 to be wired and that a bondsman would be arranged.
After the lady sent the money, she called her grandson in Ohio. Some questions need to be asked before sending this kind of money. Are any of my relatives and friends traveling? And how could I find out.
If someone calls claiming to be a relative, or the relative is in trouble, do not give them personal info over the phone. Do not confirm your name or the relative’s name or nicknames that you use. Dont give away any personal indicators that could disprove their claim. DO NOT GIVE CREDIT CARD or bank information. Ask them specific questions. Make them answer them, do not supply them with the info. Names, hometown, wife, husband. They will use it against you.
Next, ask them for a phone number to call them back, or in this case, the phone number to the jail where the person is being held. Also ask the address to the jail. They will probably supply you with a phone number, and possibly an address. Both can be checked for validity.
If the caller is questionable (If your relative just left the house, and know they are not travlening) hang up. If you feel you need to investigate further, tell them you will call them back. Make no promises. Sometimes they will give you a call back number, or they say they will call you back. The person will be very demanding and difficult to deal with, asking you to send the money now, and there is no time. Do not let them intimidate you.
If you need to stall, tell them you need to see if you can get the money and have them call you back. If they wont do this, then something is definitely wrong.
What next? After hanging up, you should be making calls to the relative, or other family members to find out where they are. Using a computer, you can google the phone numbers and addresses they gave you. Im betting they would have inconsistencies. Such as the address given, being someplace different like a mall or restaurant in the  alldedged town. Compare that with a google search of the real jail.
Google the phone number as well. What region does it come back to? If the jail is in Texas, but the number is from Canada, there is a problem. After researching the alledged jail on the internet, call the listed jail number. Ask them if the relative is being held there.
Hopefully by taking some of these steps, you can disprove the story, and save yourself some money and heartache.
A personal note, a relative had contacted me a couple of years ago. She told me that her grandson had been arrested in Canada for a serious crime, the assault of a game warden. The person calling, claimed to be the grandson, and that he was on vacation in Canada and was hunting. He told her that he needed money sent to Canada, via Moneygram, and they would release him.
The man calling never used his name. She let the name slip, and he ran with it. Unfortunately for him, he used the shortened version of the name, and that sparked her distrust. She collected the city jail informaiton and a phone number to call them back.  They said they would call her back soon.
I of course, googled the information. None of it came back to a jail or a police department.  The address, was a mall in the downtown part of that city. I called the number back and got the answering machine to the “jail.”
She was also able to confirm he was not traveling in Canada.

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