Michigan's Attorney General is warning parents and grandparents about a new twist on the old family emergency scam.

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Dana Nessel's office issued the reminder on Monday (4/19) after two reports of new variations of the scam that involve individuals posing as kids or grandparents in problematic situations.

What Prompted the Warning?

In a matter of five days, two mothers have reported being contacted by someone claiming to have kidnapped their daughters. The callers demanded ransom money in order to grant the safe return of the women. In both cases, the callers knew the daughters' names. Remember, this information can easily be curated from social media sites like Facebook.

Prior to that, a pair of Michigan grandparents were scammed out of 33,000 by someone claiming to be their grandson. The caller told the couple he was in a Canadian jail on charges of fishing without a license. After the couple sent a wire transfer of $3,000, the man called again requesting $30,000 because drugs and alcohol had been found in his boat.

How should you avoid being scammed?

Be suspicious when you receive a telephone call where:

  • A child or grandchild calls you from a faraway location.
  • The grandchild says, “It’s me,” or “It’s your grandson,” or “It’s your favorite grandchild.”
  • The child or grandchild is in some trouble or in distress.
  • The caller asks for money to be wire transferred

What should you do if you receive a suspicious call?

Attorney General Dana Nessel recommends that anyone who receives such a phone call should hang up immediately and verify the whereabouts of the relative in question.



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