Police are currently investigating three recent incidents in which members of Rapid City’s senior population were scammed out of money. The money scammed from these residents totals nearly $40,000. These incidents took place between December 8th and December 10th.
The scam begins with a phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or other family member claiming to be in a distressful situation. Examples include being arrested and needing money to bond out of jail, or needing money to cover unanticipated medical expenses. The scammer may claim to be from a law enforcement agency. These scammers will often research details about their targeted victim (and their family) using social media. The scammer then requests that cash or gift cards be mailed to resolve the situation. Some scammers may request a wire transfer.
As with any scam, the best defense is knowing the indicators. The SD Attorney General’s Office has issued the following helpful safety tips relevant to this scam:
- Ask several personal questions including something that only a grandchild would be able to answer like a nickname, name of a family pet or special family tradition. This will help determine if this is a fraud or not.
- Independently contact the grandchild or parent of the grandchild the scam artist is claiming to be at a known phone number.
- Do not fill in the blanks for the caller. If the caller says, “This is your granddaughter,” ask “which one?” or “where are you calling from?” The caller is looking for answers that will assist them in the scam.
- Be cautious if the caller asks you to not tell anyone else, like the parents, because he or she will get in trouble. It is all part of the scam.