‘Grandparent Scam’ hits close to home

We’ve all gotten those strange phone calls from numbers we don’t know or from people we don’t know.

We’ve all gotten those strange phone calls from numbers we don’t know or from people we don’t know.

Recently, Enumclaw resident Genevieve Bolson received two phone calls from someone claiming to be a grandchild of hers.

The first time Bolson was called, she said she listened to a fair amount of the phone conversation. It was a quite lengthy and detailed call, she said, but halfway through she knew it was a hoax and had heard enough.

“I told them they should know I was taping the call and they immediately hung up,” Bolson said.

Not long after, Bolson received another call. But this time she didn’t listen to much of the call before telling them she was taping it.

The callers were posing as a grandchild of Bolson saying that they were hurt and needed money sent to them.

She credits them for being clever in the way they ask for the money. The callers wanted her to draw cash out and wire the money to a foreign country where an agent would send the money back to the appropriate place.

“They make it so convincing,” she said.

Bolson isn’t alone. Her brother’s neighbor was recently hit by a scammer as well and almost sent the money.

The neighbor sent her daughter to the bank to withdraw the requested $2,000. Bolson said the bank teller asked what the money was for. That’s when the teller stopped them and let them know that they were being scammed, she added.

“If the bank teller hadn’t been alert,” Bolson said. “She could have sent the money.”

This scam is nothing new. It is known as the “Grandparent Scam.”

In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission recorded more than 40,000 cases of scammers impersonating family or friends. And many of these scams go unreported.

And thousands of dollars are lost every year by people falling for the grandparent scam as well as other phone scams.

In 2011, it was reported that 25,500 older Americans sent $110 million to scammers who posed as family members in distress.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation warns people to resist the need to act quickly and send the money right away. Be skeptical and trust your gut feeling if you receive phone calls similar to these.

The FBI also suggests asking detailed questions to the person on the phone that only your true grandchild or family member would know. Ask for a phone number to call them back on and finally after hanging up the phone, call your grandchild or their parents and check on them.

The FBI also wants to inform people that wiring money is similar to sending cash, you cannot get the money back once it is sent.

According to information on the Washington State Office of the Attorney General’s website you can avoid and detect a scam by not filling in the blanks for the scammer. If you ask more questions to understand the situation like what grandchild is calling, it is likely that the scammer will hang up.

“Even if this just helps save one person,” Bolson said. “It is good to get this information out to people.”

More in News

Black Diamond hits the reset button

The new Black Diamond City Council wasted no time on settling in and testing the political waters. On their first meeting of the year, new Councilwomen Melissa Oglesbee and Erin Stout and returning Councilwomen Tamie Deady and Janie Edelman marched through a long list of agenda items, many of which reversed council policies and goals set over the last two years.

Citizen group urges council to start pool planning

With the Sumner High School pool closing at the end of the 2018-2019 swim season, residents are asking the City of Bonney Lake to build a city pool to house the Panther and Spartan swim teams. A presentation on why the council should start planning a pool as quickly as possible is being held Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Teacher, student reconnect at living center after 66 years

A person can change in 66 years. At the very least, they’re going to look pretty different. So when Robert Terrell, 96, and Margaret (Peggy) Burley, 75, ran into each other at Bonney Lake’s Cedar Ridge assisted living facility last August, neither of them realized they had met before — at an elementary school, where he was a fourth-grade teacher, and she was a part of his first ever class.

Former Plateau resident lands role with Marvel T.V. series

McKay Stewart, who spent much of his childhood in Enumclaw and Bonney Lake, will be joining the Marvel universe in a new episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airing Friday, Jan. 19.

Library’s art and writing contest returns to Pierce County | Pierce County Library System

Pierce County teens are encouraged to express themselves through writing, painting, drawing and more for the annual Our Own Expressions competition, hosted by the Pierce County Library System.

Sumner School District seeks name ideas for new elementary school

Want to name your new local school? Just fill out a short form by Jan. 26

Judge reproaches Black Diamond mayor, former city council majority

In a summary judgement hearing, King County Superior Court Judge Janet Helson said she was troubled by both the actions of Black Diamond Mayor Carol Benson and former City Council majority Pat Pepper, Brian Weber, and Erika Morgan over the last two years concerning potential Open Public Meetings Act violations.

Man shot in Burnett; suspect turns himself in

According to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the victim was driven to the Burnett Store in order to report he was shot by his brother. The suspect turned himself in approximately three hours later.

Garbage, water, sewer rates increase in Enumclaw

Having made the leap into a new year, Enumclaw property owners are now seeing increases to nearly all their utility rates. Here’s a look at the 2018 increases for city services, along with the financial impact on customers.

Most Read