FBI Buffalo Warns of Grandparent Scams

Jeremy Bell, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office, issues an alert about a costly scam that is occurring throughout western New York.

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Jeremy Bell. I'm an assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office.

I want to alert you to a costly scam that is occurring throughout western New York right now.

This scheme is what we call an elder fraud, and it targets our senior population.

It's scary and successful, with the loss of money locally in the tens of thousands.

Here is one variation of the scam we are seeing in western New York:

Someone calls an older person at their home claiming to be that person's grandchild -- often knowing the true name of the grandchild.  The grandchild is claiming they've been in a serious car accident.

They are frantic and panicked during the call, and they plea for the grandparent to get cash for them, so they can post bond.

The grandchild then gives the phone to another person, who is described as an attorney.

The supposed attorney directs the grandparent to go to their local bank and withdraw approximately $15,000 in cash, to put the cash in an envelope, and then to wait for a courier to arrive at their house.

A short time later, a car or van arrives at the grandparent's home, and they turn over the money.

Sometimes, the scammers use ride share companies to retrieve the cash from the victims' homes.

If you get a call like the one I just described, please hang up the phone and immediately report it the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or your local police department.

Lots of good folks are losing their hard-earned money due to this fraud. We want to stop that from happening.

And if you are a ride share driver and are asked to pick up mail or an envelope from a home, immediately report it to law enforcement.

We are asking the public to please alert your family members to this fraud, especially if they are older.

Let me be clear, these scammers are convincing, and their actions are criminal. The experience is traumatic for the victims.

Currently, we are working with police departments and sheriffs' offices throughout western New York to find and arrest the people responsible for these crimes.

We are asking the public to report these scam calls, even if you do not give the scammers money.

Thank you.





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