LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A scam aimed at grandparents has made it’s way to SWLA. One Lake Area man is warning others signs to look out for.
Don Thibodeaux said he got a phone call from a man saying he was his grandson and that he had been in a car accident. He said he had been arrested—even giving Thibodeaux a case number—and said he needed to send $7,000 in cash to bail him out.
Thibodeaux says that was just one of many red flags throughout the phone conversation.
“It was a red flag because he told me don’t give the case number to anybody, saying it was just the family’s business," Thibodeaux said. "He told me a lawyer by the name of John Williams would be calling me back to give me instructions on how to bond him out.”
Another red flag? The phone number that was calling Thibodeaux had a Florida area code, while the caller said Thibodeaux’s grandson was being held in Houston, Texas.
Thibodeaux said he called his grandson’s phone, who told him he was at work.
“So, I waited and when John Williams called back, I told him, ‘guess what?’” Thibodeaux said. “'You’re not getting any money. This is a scam and I have reported you.'”
Thibodeaux says he posted about the scam call on the app NextDoor, as well as alerted Lake Charles Police and the Better Business Bureau. He says while this isn’t the first scam call he has received, this scam call was the first of it’s nature for him.
“I think he was specifically targeting seniors because they see seniors as an easy target," Thibodeaux said. "But I wasn’t born yesterday. Anybody ask you for any money, always verify any information you are given because there are so many scams out there. You just never know.”
According to AARP, mobile scam calls are increasing: They say in 2017, 3.7 percent of calls to cell phones were scam calls. In 2018, that number reached 29.2 percent and it’s expected to climb to 44.6 percent in 2019.
The FBI also provides tips on how you can protect yourself and your family from fraud.