Grandparent scam moves into Eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grandparent scam moves into Eastern Iowa

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- A scam targeting grandparents has moved into eastern Iowa. In the scam, the caller says they are a relative in need of money.

A senior in southwest Iowa lost $3,000. A man from Waterloo man received a phone call on Tuesday from a person claiming to be his grandson. We talked with the man but he asked not to be identified.

"Then he said he need money to pay off his fines so I went ahead and arranged money to be sent to him," the man said.

Because he answered the call once, this scammer is continuing to call. 

"I said that was a lot of money to come up with.  I said I can't do it. I said why don't you call your mom and that was the end of it he was gone," the Waterloo man said.'

The Hawkeye Area Agency on Aging in Waterloo was actually created to protect older Iowans and older Americans from this type of scam. Phone banks at the agency call older Iowans and warn them about potential scams and how to protect themselves. 

"What we've learned is that seniors are reporting all around the state in at least 25 communities that they have been receiving these types of scam calls. We also know there have been at least five victims," Iowa SMP Coordinator, Deb Yankey said.

Scammers focus on older Iowans because they usually have more money available and they are more trusting.

"Generally they expect older people maybe more courteous and cooperative and we particularly find that to be the case here in the Midwest," Yankey said.

In this particular scam experts say that if people are suspicious about a caller they need to ask questions. If they say they are a family member they should ask a question that only that family member would know the answer to.

The FBI has these warning signs of telemarketing fraud. If the caller says you must act now, you've won a free gift, or you must send money. The most important tip to avoiding scams: never  give out personal information over the phone. Reputable agencies will not ask for your info on the phone.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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