AG Eric Schneiderman Gives Detailed Instructions On Best Way To Scam Grandparents

Scamming old people has always been a relatively easy thing to do -- and it just got easier, thanks to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In an attempt to alert the public about a common "grandparents scam" that's taken New York seniors for nearly $500,000 over the past several months, Schneiderman has inadvertently provided anyone with Internet access the blueprints for how to do it.

It's fairly simple -- all you need is a phone, a creative story, and loving grandparents dumb enough to send money to a complete stranger.

Here's how to do it -- compliments of the AG's Office:

Seniors will receive an unexpected call from someone who claims to be a friend or relative. A typical scenario targets grandparents with the caller claiming to be their grandson or granddaughter. The caller says there is an emergency and asks victim to send money immediately. For example, they might say, "I'm in Canada and I'm trying to get home but my car broke down and I need money right away to get it fixed." Or they may claim to have been mugged, or been in a car accident, or need money for bail or to pay customs fees to get back into the United States from another country. They may also pose as an attorney or law enforcement official contacting a potential victim on behalf of a friend or relative.

Typically, the caller says they are embarrassed about what has happened to them, and asks the grandparent not to tell anyone else in the family.

A scammer pretends to know the names of a victim's friends or relatives, however, in some cases they don't. For example, the scammer may say "Hi grandma," hoping that she actually has a grandson. If she asks, "David, is that you?" the scammer will say "Yes!" Often these crooks will call in the middle of the night and take advantage of the fact that one may not be alert enough to ask more questions, and the victim may not want to disturb other people by calling them to confirm the information. Sometimes the scammersdo know the names of one's friends or relatives, as they can obtain that information from a variety of sources.

According to Schneiderman, the scammers have made off with at least $440,000 over the past several months, hitting old folks from Nassau County to Buffalo.

"It's despicable that these scammers are preying on the vulnerability and generosity of senior citizens who are duped into thinking they are helping out a family member in need," Schneiderman says. "Instead, these dishonest individuals are trying to steal money from seniors."

If you think you may have been scammed, Schneiderman says to give his office a call at 800-771-7755.

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