Crime Stoppers: 'Grandparent' phone scam

In this week's installment of Crime Stoppers Most Wanted, Sgt. Charles Zlotkus from the Rochester Police Department Major Crimes Unit joined us to discuss an ongoing scam targeting grandparents.

The scam involves someone calling claiming to be a grandchild or a lawyer representing a grandchild saying they were arrested and in need of money for legal fees and fines. They end up using social engineering questions or social networking sites to gain information.

Rochester police pass along this advice:

Rochester Police ask residents to be suspicious of anyone who calls and asks for money, regardless of the situation. Key words to focus on are Money Gram, Western Union, Target gift cards, Best Buy gift cards, Walmart gift cards, and ITunes gift cards. All of these are ways to quickly move money around the country or world. With the gift cards simply by providing the card number and code off the back the dollar amount on the card can instantly be accessed by the scammer. Scammers also set up bank accounts and get the victim to wire transfer money into that account.

Verify an Emergency (Federal Trade Commission recommendations)

If someone calls or sends a message claiming to be a family member or a friend desperate for money:

• Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.

• Verify the person’s identity by asking questions that a stranger couldn’t possibly answer.

• Call a phone number for your family member or friend that you know to be genuine.

• Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you’ve

been told to keep it a secret.

• Don’t wire money — or send a check or money order by overnight delivery or courier.

Other Recommendations

• Do not buy gift cards. This should automatically alert you it is a scam.

• Check Social Media sites to verify privacy settings are in place.

Report possible fraud at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP

Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website for further information on scams

If you fall victim to such a scam call your Law Enforcement Agency immediately.

We also call your attention to Davonte Conyers, 23, wanted for assault, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, acting in a manner injurious to a child, aggravated unlicensed operation and other traffic charges. If you have any information on his whereabouts, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 423-9300.

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