Grandparent scam targets elderly
By Erica Smith
For the Enquirer
In a recent scam that has impacted Morgan County residents, someone posing as part of the justice system will call an elderly person and warn that their grandchild or other family member is in a crisis situation and needs money.
“People are vulnerable right now,” said Julie Campbell, coordinator of the Aging Disability Resource Center and State Health Insurance Program at North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments.
Because of COVID-19, the elderly are not seeing their loved ones as often and are more secluded, Campbell said.
Scammers will sometimes call elderly family members of people who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents or some other high-profile incident, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.
Some scammers might pose as a bail bond agents, law enforcement officials or attorneys needing money to represent the grandchild in court, according to the Decatur Police Department.
According to the sheriff’s office, some offenders will tell the elderly person an Uber driver will come to their residence to collect the fees.
The MCSO last week said offenders had scammed elderly citizens in Morgan and Madison counties out of approximately $200,000.
Campbell said there are ways to help protect the elderly from the scam.
“The best thing to do is to add all of their contacts that they know into their phone,” said Campbell. That way, they only need to answer if they know the person calling, she said. If the call is not listed in their contacts, the elderly should be advised to let the call go to voicemail.
Decatur police encourage grandparents and the elderly to pause and resist the urge to act immediately. They also say to never give out personal information.
Lastly, verify any emergency by calling family members directly.