Chicago man receives ‘granny scam’ phone call

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Better Business Bureau

A Chicago man is the latest victim of the “granny scam,” a con in which an elderly person gets a distressed phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild.

Charles Nolan, of Chicago, received a call from “his grandson” who said that he was in an Ohio jail and needed bail money. The caller then said someone would call Nolan with more information, according to a statement from the Better Business Bureau.

“I didn’t recognize his voice,” Nolan said in a statement.

Nolan then got a second call from someone pretending to be his grandson’s lawyer, who said that the grandson had been in a car accident and that a girl had been injured. The lawyer provided a case number, and said the grandson needed $1,870 for bail, according to the statement.

After building a sense of urgency, the caller generally instructs the victim to wire money to post bail, according to the statement.

“I was told to go to CVS and send [money] through Money Gram and I did it right away,” Nolan said.

Nolan contacted his son-in-law after sending the money and found out his grandson wasn’t in Ohio. Once the caller received the money, they called Nolan asking for more, according to the statement.

“Since about 2008, we’ve seen many seniors and their families who have been hurt by this scam,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau for Chicago and Northern Illinois in a statement. “National data tracked by the BBB shows that the grandparent scam or variations of it have increased from 12,000 to 15,000 in the years 2012 to 2015.”

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