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Grandparent Scammers Try a New Angle

Many seniors have been ripped off in recent years by scam artists posing as grandchildren. In most versions of the scam, the phony grandchild claims to have gotten into trouble while traveling overseas and needs cash to get out of the jam. But some seniors knew that their SCAMgrandchildren weren’t overseas, so the crooks came up with a new variation of the scam.

Now the phony grandchild pretends to have caused an accident that injured a foreign tourist visiting the U.S., and claims to be in a local jail until he or she pays the tourist’s medical bill. The money needs to be sent overseas because the tourist has returned home to recover.

In both versions of the grandparent scam, the con artist is using a common scam technique: playing on the emotions of a potential victim, in this case a grandparent who wants to help their grandchild. And in both versions the goal is the same: to get the grandparent to wire a large amount of cash overseas.

Remember, once you’ve wired money to another country, it’s gone. Be skeptical anytime someone asks you to send money overseas, no matter who they claim to be.

If you think you or someone you know might have been scammed or contacted by a scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.