BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) - North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's Consumer Protection Division warned consumers Monday about a scam happening in North Dakota targeting senior citizens.
In the scam, imposters call a number hoping that a senior citizen will pick up the phone. The scam artist pretends to be a grandchild and claims to be dealing with an emergency situation in a foreign country.
If the grandparent does not recognize the caller's voice, the imposter claims to have a sore throat or a cold and begins to cry. This leads to the grandparent trying to guess the identity of the caller or providing other information the scam artist can use to gain the grandparent's trust. After the grandparent is convinced the caller is legitimate, the scam begins.
The scammer asks the grandparent to write money outside the country for fines, legal fees or medical bills that the alleged grandchild must pay to be released from jail or be allowed to leave the country. The con artist instructs the victims to go to the nearest Money Gram or Western Union location to wire money to authorities in the foreign country.
There are multiple variations of the scam involving various reasons for the supposed emergency and different locations. In one variation, the grandchild hands the phone to a purported official who urges the grandparent to wire the money right away.