BBB says 'grandparent scam' has a new twist - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

BBB says 'grandparent scam' has a new twist

Businesses now target of graft claiming employees need money for bail

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Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:06 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona has issued a warning about a new variation of the infamous "grandparents scam."

The con works like this: The scammer calls a business from a restricted phone number, claiming they're a detective with the local police department and that one of the company's employees is in the hospital after being involved in a drunk-driving accident.

When the business owner asks which employee has been in the accident, the caller answers, "it's the person you would least expect," or a similar statement meant to bait the business into providing a name.

If the business owner does name an employee, the scammer will confirm that is the person, and that they need to quietly wire a significant amount of bail money to an unknown location via Wal-Mart MoneyGram, or another wire transfer service in order to keep the employee's good reputation intact.

An Oro Valley resident fell victim to a similar scam in January, when a person claiming to be a police officer contacted him from Canada saying his grandson had been arrested for drunk driving.

Following the caller's instructions, the man wired $2,600 to a location in Montreal, only to find later that his grandson had not been arrested.

People are encouraged to report such incidents to local law enforcement agency, as well as BBB.

The BBB offers the following tips:

• Don't fill in the blanks for the caller: Ask a lot of questions that have answers only you or someone familiar with your employee should know;

• Do whatever is necessary to confirm your employee's whereabouts. Get off the phone and call your employee directly to verify what you've been told.

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