“Grandma Scam” hits Juneau

The FBI is warning of a so-called “Grandma Scam” in Juneau.

Con artists are again targeting senior citizens, posing as a family member who is stranded, has been in a car accident and needs money, according to Eric Gonzalez, the supervisory special agent for the FBI in Alaska.

“In each case, the caller claimed to have broken their nose and that’s why they sound differently. And then they asked the senior citizen to please send them money to handle either legal fees or medical fees, and the sums are usually about 25-hundred dollars,” Gonzalez says.

Gonzalez says in most instances, the caller sounds believable and has personal information about the family, often easy to find these days on Facebook.

“That’s really an easy way social-engineer some information. Usually you call a person up, pretend to be someone and try to elicit information from them. Now you just go to Facebook and you can learn all about a person; you can look at family photos,” Gonzalez says. “So with Facebook and these social media platforms the person who’s using those things need to make sure they understand not only the privacy rules of that platform, but also the privacy settings for their accounts.”

The FBI has had several reports of the calls in Juneau recently. Gonzalez says if anyone gets such a call, just hang up.

The scam is similar to one that often hits people’s email.

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