Friday, April 9, 2010

Beware of relatives seeking cash . . .

As the saying goes, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," that in reference, of course, to the Trojan Horse. All is not as it appears. Today that might read, "Beware of relatives seeking cash."

Last week's issue of GenWeekly focused to some extent on genealogy fraud. This week, an article from the Colony Courier-Leader, "AG warns of grandparent scam,"reports a caution from the Texas Attorney General about scams targeting seniors, grandparents, in particular. The problem is not limited to Texas.

The scam "plays upon a grandparent's natural desire to protect a grandchild. Although variations of this scam have been around for a long time, it has become more sophisticated with the proliferation of information on the Internet. Con artists are more often using personal information gleaned from family blogs, genealogy Web sites, social networking sites, and online newspapers to add credibility to their calls. Reports from law enforcement agencies around the country suggest that the scam works too often." [italics my own]

We have noted on this blog and in various GenWeekly articles the dangers of putting too much personal information online, including family trees, social networks, and blogs. So this is just another word of caution.

"Law enforcement agencies encourage [residents] to always exercise some skepticism when they receive telephone calls urgently requesting money."

The article goes on to suggest ways to detect and avert a scam -- it's definitely worth taking the time to read.

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