Are phone scammers targeting your grandmother?

Posted at 9:35 PM, Mar 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-20 21:35:06-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Virginia Beach is known as the resort city and possibly one of the best places for a phone scammer to target a grandparent.

“I`m sure it`s happening everywhere, but one thing that`s unique to Virginia Beach is that we have a military population here,” says Macie Pridgen with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.

The Virginia Beach commonwealth attorney's office tells NewsChannel 3 "The Grandparent" scam is on the rise when a scammer calls an elderly person, pretending to be a grandchild in trouble and asks for them to wire money.

“It seems that now every time we`re out in the community speaking to a senior group, somebody has said this is happening to them,” says Pridgen.

With a strong military community, it may be easier for scammers to find a victim.

“Scammers are playing off that fact and calling grandparents and saying, "I`m so and so you`re grandson and I`m deployed and need money for whatever it may be."

The Commonwealth Attorney's Office tells NewsChannel 3 now scammers are doing research to make their stories sound even more believable.

"50ish scammers are on Facebook and other websites and getting personal information to convince the parents that they actually are who they say they are,” says Pridgen.

They are tricking the grandparent out of possibly thousands of dollars; it’s a crime prosecutors say is difficult to combat.

“Sometimes these people are operating from other countries and often the money is gone as soon as it`s sent, and there`s no way to track who it was actually sent to,” says Pridgen.

Police tell us they have been aware of this scam for years and lately, they haven't heard about any major increases, just variations of the scam.

Virginia Beach Police say in most of these cases, there are little or no leads to follow. This is all the more reason they say more needs to be done.