Politics & Government

'Grandparent scam' has bilked $40,000 from Kentuckians this year

During the past five weeks, the Kentucky attorney general's office has received four complaints from people who said they lost money as victims of a "grandparent scam," including a Laurel County man who reported Friday that he was bilked of $15,500.

The Office of Consumer Protection has received nearly a dozen complaints this year from victims of the hoax who reported losing nearly $40,000 after people falsely claiming to be their grandchildren called asking for money, spokeswoman Shelley Johnson said.

On Monday, a Fort Mitchell woman reported being scammed out of $4,800 after agreeing to wire money to someone who claimed to be her grandson, Johnson said. The caller said he had been in an accident in Mexico City and asked that money be sent to him through a money-transfer service. The victim wired the money.

On June 8, an Olmstead woman said she was scammed out of $500, Johnson said. On May 23, a Benton woman said she wired $6,000 to someone pretending to be her grandson.

An Owensboro man reported March 24 that he lost more than $8,100, Johnson said. On Jan. 11, a Jenkins grandmother said she thought she was wiring $3,000 to her grandchild in Spain after a DUI arrest.

In some recent cases, scammers portrayed themselves as policemen or lawyers calling on behalf of a grandchild. Many of the calls originate overseas, Johnson said.

Conway is encouraging seniors who receive such a call to verify the caller's identity and ask a question that only the grandchild would be able to answer correctly, or to contact a relative to verify the story.