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DOJ and Oregon Bankers Association advise seniors to beware of suspicious pleas for help from people posing as grandchildren or other family members

The Oregon Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Oregon Bankers Association, is warning citizens of a group of out-of-state malcontents targeting seniors in "grandparent scams."

"In grandparent scams, older adults are duped into handing over cash … thinking they're helping a loved one who is in danger," a release last week from the DOJ said.

The scammers modus operandi goes like this: Scammers pose as grandchildren who are in trouble and call or send messages to the seniors pleading with them to wire money to them immediately.

"They'll say they need cash to help with an emergency — like paying a hospital bill or needing to leave a foreign country," the release said. "They pull at your heartstrings so they can trick you into sending money before you realize it's a scam."

To fight the scam, the DOJ recommends a grandparent responding to an urgent request for money do this:

• Resist the urge to act immediately — no matter how dramatic the story is.

• Verify the caller's identity. Ask questions that a stranger couldn't possibly answer. • Call a phone number for a family member or friend you know to be genuine. Check the story out with someone else in the family or circle of friends, even if told to keep it a secret.

• Don't send cash, gift cards or money transfers — once the scammer gets the money, it's gone.

• Never open your door for anyone you don't know.

• Call the police immediately if you have reason to believe you've fallen victim to this scam or any other scam.

Those unfortunate souls that have already been taken advantage of by a scammer can file a complaint at or call the Oregon Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 to have a complaint form mailed to them.

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