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Consumer Protection Division Warns of Phone Scam Targeting Senior Citizens

Consumer Protection Division Warns of Phone Scam Targeting Senior Citizens 

PIERRE, S.D.-   The South Dakota Consumer Protection Division and local law enforcement agencies across the state have received complaints from senior citizens who have been targeted in a new scam. Senior citizens have reported receiving calls from someone claiming to be a grandchild who was in an accident or emergency situation and needing money to be sent via wire transfer. The person calling uses a plea for help and a sense of urgency when asking for a wire transfer in amounts up to $5,000. The caller may even ask the senior not to tell anyone else, like the parents, because he or she will get in trouble. It is all part of the scam.

“The use of fear and emotion is the basis of this scam,” said Attorney General Long. “Grandparents are likely to respond quickly and without hesitation when it involves a grandchild. We are asking seniors to be cautious about wiring money to any individual and to ask tough questions to assure they are talking with their relatives.”

The Consumer Protection Division advises seniors to not send money without asking several personal questions that might determine if this call is a fraud or not. Don’t be afraid to call a family member and ask if this person has been in an accident. Ask the caller for a telephone number where you can call him or her back. If you believe the call is fraudulent then contact your local law enforcement agency. Those who have already sent money contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or by email at consumerhelp@state.sd.us.