“It’s Me” . . . Again
Callers are posing as the friend of a friend in distress who needs money
We’ve written about the "It’s Me! Swindle," where someone calls an elderly person, pretends to be the victim’s grandchild, and tells a story of being in an emergency situation and needing money.
Well, we were told about a variation on that theme recently. A 91-year-old man received a phone call from someone who said he was passing on an urgent message from one of the man’s friends. The caller gave his own name, and it sounded very personal, professional, and true. Then the caller said he was passing on the message because this friend was stranded during a vacation in England, because of an accident, and needed $2,000 immediately. The caller asked for the 91-year-old’s personal information in order to immediately process the funds needed to rescue this friend.
The elderly man had the presence of mind to say that before he would provide this information, he would first speak to his niece—and then the caller immediately hung up. The niece called the supposedly stranded friend, who answered the phone. He was sitting in his kitchen, which was nowhere near England, sipping iced tea.
No doubt this is one of many variations on this theme. If you get one of these calls, don’t automatically believe the person on the other end of the phone. Get the caller’s phone number, and tell him (or her) you’ll call back. Run the scenario by someone you trust. Try to call the family of the person having the so-called emergency. Consider all the possibilities. Once you give away your valuable personal and financial information, undoing the damage will be a difficult process.
Published September 14, 2009