It’s terrifying to be on the other end of a phone call when you think your child or grandchild is in trouble.
The grandparents scam strikes again. You may have seen this story on KKTV 11 News. This time a father got a call about his daughter and nearly lost hundreds of dollars thinking she was kidnapped. I spoke to a detective from the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit about how to protect yourself from this scam.
The police told me that a man in his 60s received a phone call saying his daughter had been kidnapped. The caller said they wanted a $1,000 ransom to return her. The bad guys told the man to hurry up or they would kill his daughter. There was even screaming and crying in the background of the call. It wasn’t really her. Scammers use this trick to scare you, so you react right away.
The man went to a bank in Colorado Springs and passed a note to the teller saying his daughter had been kidnapped. He withdrew some cash and headed to Walmart, where he was supposed to be sending money to someone in Mexico, probably via wire transfer. The cashier notified the police. Officers went to Walmart and met with the victim of the scam. As soon as the bad guys heard the officers talking, the crooks hung up the phone. The man called his daughter and she was fine.
“They want to slow this down and if they can try to contact the individual who was supposedly kidnapped, that’s the first thing they can do,” said Detective Matt Hulett of the Crimes Unit. Colorado Springs Police Department fundraisers. .
Fraudulent calls are random and usually come from an overseas call center.
“They’re coming from overseas, but they’re going to use a lot of people in the country who don’t know what they’re involved in,” Hulett said. “For example, even with these supposed kidnapping situations, they’re going to want that money sent to someone, but it could be a very legitimate person somewhere in this country who doesn’t understand why the money is being sent to them. “
The best thing to do is hang up the phone and block the number.
“In my time here, in 22 years with CSPD, I can think of only one ransom kidnapping situation. I could be wrong, but I think it ended up being a baseless situation,” Hulett said. “So just on the law of averages, the likelihood of a kidnapping situation being legitimate with a ransom – very, very small. It could happen, but it’s very, very small.”
If you lose money to a scam, you should report it to local law enforcement. You can call the Colorado Springs Police non-emergency line at 719-444-7000.
Also, I want to warn you about an SMS scam that appears to be from your bank. Ent Credit Union tells me that scammers use their name to try to trick consumers. You may have received this SMS. I even had it, and some of my colleagues too. The message indicates that there is a problem with your account and asks you to click on a link.
“The scammers don’t know who our members are. They just know they are outnumbered in Colorado, so they target phones with area codes in hopes of making a hit. We’ve heard from members and non-members talking about fraudulent texts,” LaShae Woodard, Ent’s vice president of financial crimes, said in part in a statement. “The link directs consumers to web pages that mimic ours, so it’s easy to get confused. These pages ask consumers for highly confidential information such as account numbers and logins to help them attempt to access their accounts.
“What is important for all consumers to know is that legitimate businesses never ask for this information via text or email, so they should remain vigilant and always go directly to the trusted source rather than click on those links. If a message is received regarding an account issue, consumers should log directly into their apps or company websites or call the organization directly,” Woodard added. “To be clear, our our members’ systems and information have not been hacked. This tactic is all about tricking consumers into divulging their confidential information.”
If you receive this SMS, do not reply to it and do not click on the link. Remember that you should never disclose personal or financial information. If you have given sensitive information, contact Ent.