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To Ontario – with Love?

April 23, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. - The phone call is frantic. The caller claims to be your granddaughter and she needs money wired to Canada immediately - but "please don't tell anyone else..." This is how one of the latest scams targeting the elderly in New Hampshire begins.

Officer Jane Constant with the Nashua Police Department says it is proving to be effective, unfortunately.

"They come across with, 'Grandma, Grandpa, I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble! Can you please help me and don't tell mom and dad because it's embarrassing. This is what happened to me - I'm in jail right now and I have a lawyer, and the lawyer's not going to let me out of jail until I have some money. So, can you help me out?'"

The officer cites local cases where unsuspecting people have wired thousands of dollars to Canada, directly into the hands of a scam artist. She advises people to always investigate a situation before ever wiring money, because once cash has been sent, it is gone for good.

Harold Moldoff is the volunteer leader of the AARP New Hampshire "fraud fighter corps." He says the scammers often have personal information they find on Facebook accounts, such as the names of grandkids, or they call impersonating a police officer or bail bondsman.

"They vary in their techniques. At times they will, in fact, have the name of a grandson or a granddaughter, but in many cases they will be calling cold."

The AARP "fraud fighter corps" offers free presentations around the state to fill people in on the latest scams and how to prevent them.

More information is available at http://aarp.us/IcZ9TU.


Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH