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Section A: General News


Couple warns of ‘grandparent scam’




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Wilson County News
February 19, 2014 | 5,353 views | 56 comments

“Hi, Granny,” came the voice over the phone Feb. 11 to Nina Kupper, who lives on F.M. 775 north of Floresville.

That phone call, and a few that followed, ended up costing Nina and her husband, Bill, $6,100, after they fell for what the FBI calls “the grandparent scam.”

The caller “said he was my grandson, that he was in jail in the Dominican Republic, and he needed $2,700 for bail,” Nina said.

According to the FBI’s website, www.fbi.gov, it’s very typical of this type of scam.

“A grandparent receives a phone call (or sometimes an e-mail) from a ‘grandchild,’” the FBI site states. “... Usually, the person claims to be traveling in a foreign country and has gotten into a bad situation, like being arrested for drugs, getting in a car accident or being mugged -- and needs money wired ASAP. And the caller doesn’t want his or her parents told.”

The Kuppers were instructed to purchase MoneyGrams -- one for $1,500 and another for $1,200 -- from Walmart, and send them via Western Union from H-E-B, which they did.

Another call, which the Kuppers were told was with someone at the American Embassy, said the “grandson” had been before a judge and needed to pay a fine of $3,800 before being allowed to go home. The Kuppers sent a further $3,400.

It was only after this that Nina thought to check on her grandson, who lives in California. He assured her when she called that he was safely at home, and had never been to the Dominican Republic.

Alarmed, she contacted Wilson County Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Jim Burdette, who advised her to report the incident to the FBI. The Kuppers were told the FBI could not investigate the matter.

The FBI, on its website, advises the amounts in these cases “... typically don’t meet the FBI’s financial thresholds for opening an investigation.”

Avoid falling for such a scam; read “FBI tips.”

Nina and her husband have taken a financial hit, and they want to prevent others from falling victim to such scams.

“What if it was somebody who used their entire life savings?” she said.

FBI tips

To avoid being victimized, the FBI offers these tips:

■ “Resist the pressure to act quickly.
■ “Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.

■ “Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an e-mail, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash--once you send it, you can’t get it back.”

Learn about current scams and how to avoid them at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety. You can report such incidents to www.ic3.gov.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 27, 2014 9:10pm
 
The IRS has released the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2014. Interesting.....just google for a bit of enlightenment.

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
March 27, 2014 7:08pm
 
You are right, Prairie. In fact, you can find it under our NEWS heading. Click on SCAM CENTRAL, and you will find the FBI warning that we published in February: Scam Central Callback scheme used in International Revenue Share ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 27, 2014 5:15pm
 
I understand that there is a scam with the caller claiming to be from the IRS threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you do not authorize a direct debit on your bank account.

 
Senior Citizen  
Wilson County  
March 27, 2014 2:29pm
 
Pay attention folks! These scammers are still around. Maybe young folks could warn their parents who may not know this continues to happen!

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 1, 2014 5:13pm
 
The windmill stands proud and still spinning in spite of the dastardly jousting by the Don Quixote of St. Hedwig. It's nice feeling the warm air flowing over my glorious body.....Have a nice weekend Bob, and don't take ... More ›

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
March 1, 2014 4:17pm
 
Grouch, You're right. I replied 9 times to you only. That's 33% of your rants on the same sight. Now, if you would just allow me to respond 18 more times without a response from you, I could tie with you. But, as everyone ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 1, 2014 3:30pm
 
Bob Pritts, I noticed that you are in the runner up position in the number of comment submitted on this article. Don't be a sore user, with your capabilities, being second is not bad.:-)

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
March 1, 2014 3:01pm
 
Grouch, Just look at your last post. Your answer for the 27 replies was " ... that is caused by the number of persons commenting, (who can't stand the truth, including you)whose misinformed statements cry out for reply. Count ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 1, 2014 1:19pm
 
Bob Pritts....Concerning the number of my comments in relation to others on this article. That is caused by the number of persons commenting, (who can't stand the truth, including you) whose misinformed statements cry out ... More ›

 
POFPO  
Floresville  
March 1, 2014 1:07pm
 
These threads take me back to grade school. I remember this game where one of us would be whispered a statement by our teacher. This phrase would be whispered to the next child until it was finally widowed to the last child. ... More ›

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