FBI Miami issues a warning on “grandparent” scam targeting South Florida residents

The community in South Florida has a new issue to be concerned about as the FBI has recently issued a warning about a fraudulent scheme commonly known as the “grandparent” scam.

This scheme involves victims receiving calls from someone impersonating a grandchild who claims to be in trouble with the law and in need of bail money. The scammer then instructs the grandparent to wrap the money in a specific way and hand it to a ride-share driver.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), from January 2020 to June 2021, there were over 650 reports of potential grandparent scams, resulting in losses of more than $13 million. Shockingly, over 90 victims reported money being picked up from their homes, resulting in losses of more than $3.6 million.

The FBI’s Miami office is urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves from falling victim to this scam. As Zacharia Baldwin, the supervisor of FBI Miami’s complex financial crimes squad, warns, “Victims should be aware that law enforcement would never contact a family member to collect bail money on behalf of a grandchild, and legal professionals also do not conduct business in this manner.”

The scammers often use information they gather from social media platforms and dating sites to make their demands sound plausible and to create a sense of urgency to make their victims act quickly. Hence, it is crucial to be mindful of the information you share online and to be suspicious of any telephone calls that require immediate action or request money for a family member in distress. It is advisable to contact the family member directly to confirm the situation before taking any further action.

In addition, scammers may use technology to disguise the actual number they are calling from and make it appear as a trusted number. Therefore, one should be cautious of caller IDs that look familiar. The FBI emphasizes the importance of never giving personal identifiable information or money to anyone you have only communicated with by telephone or online.

If you believe you have been a victim of a grandparent fraud scheme, it is essential to report the fraud to your local FBI field office immediately. The FBI also encourages victims to report any suspicious or fraudulent activities to the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.

Please be vigilant and take these necessary precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to this scam.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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