Valley hit hard by scammers posing as relatives needing money

It's called the "relative" scam and it's hitting the Valley hard.

In the last week, I've heard from a few people who said they've been called by scammers pretending to be relatives who want money.

We've seen this before.

One Valley woman got a call from her "supposed" grandson. He said he was in London, wrecked his car, and needed money quickly. She wired him a total of $11,000. It was a scam.

Three Sun City residents recently got the same kind of calls. And, another person said the scams have moved from phones to e-mails.

She just received an e-mail from her "cousin." She said she almost sent money, but called the family and found the story wasn't true.

Looking back, victims tell me they missed warning signs. One big question was how the scammers knew their grandsons' names.

I learned that the grandparents themselves gave scammers the names.

Here are some victims' accounts:

"I said, 'Is this Tommy?' He said, 'Yeah.'"

"I said, well, who is this? And he said, 'Well, it's your grandson.' And I said, Oh Byran, how are you?"

Finally, I've said it before, but being asked to wire money is a huge warning you're about to be scammed.  

So warn family members, and consider coming up with a word or phrase to be repeated if there is an emergency.

That way, you'll know if your relative really is in trouble.

Email me with any scam you see, or "like" my ABC 15 Facebook page and tell me about it there.

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