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In Your Corner: Grandparents Scam

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Scam artists target senior citizens and use fear to cash in.

Bill and Jeri Julian said someone from Canada contacted them posing as their grandson, Blake.

The college student was supposedly jailed in Mexico and needing money for bail.

“He had been picked up, drunk driving,” Bill said.

“I said ‘Who is it? Blake? Blake?’ And he said, ‘Yes. This is me,'” Geri said.

In most cases a second scam artist pretends to be the grandchild’s attorney.

Bill and Geri withdrew thousands of dollars from their bank and drove straight to a Western Union to wire the money to Mexico City.

What the bad guys didn’t bank on was an alert clerk trained to spot and stop these money wiring scams.

She urged the Julians to call a family member.

Bill said, “My daughter-in-law answered the phone and said he’s a work.”

“Blake called us on our cell and said, ‘Grand mommy, I’m here in Arkansas,’” Jeri said.

Dwayne McAnally, a financial adviser with the “The Advisory Group” said financial scams, which have doubled in recent years, pose a serious threat to all Oklahomans, especially baby boomers and the elderly.

He said, “Anytime people are asking you for your money, get a second opinion. Get a third opinion if you need to.”

The Julians are fortunate to learn such an important lesson without any financial loss.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to know you and asking for help, ask questions that would be hard for an imposter to answer.

Then directly contact the person who they claim to be.

Western Union said they invest significant resources, funding, staff and technology to protect people from fraud and are always happy to hear when these efforts prevent a scam from happening.