• Dennis McCaslin

State officials say beware of 'favorite grandchildren' telephone scam

A panicked phone call from a person claiming to be a relative needing money right away to get him or her out of some sort of trouble pulls at the heartstrings of elderly Arkansans, but this is more than likely a scam.

Con artists continue to disguise themselves as close relatives or favorite grandchildren caught in serious trouble and in need of money wired immediately, often to a location out of the country.

With wire transfers similar to cash, the money cannot be retrieved.

“These criminals are ruthless and will stop at nothing to take advantage of innocent Arkansans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The favorite grandchild scam is common and scary. Protecting the elderly is a priority of my office and it is important to educate all Arkansans about this issue.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “favorite grandson” scheme:Resist pressure to act quickly.Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.Verify the family member’s location by directly calling another family member or the grandchild.Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether or not a need is genuine.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov orfacebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.