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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23192
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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My elderly parents have been a victims of a scam. Someone

Customer Question

My elderly parents have been a victims of a scam. Someone called them and pretended to be my son, (Wesley) Ryan Bufford. They said they were in jail in Las Vegas and were involved in an accident and since they were over the limit for alcohol they took him to jail and his bond was $20,000. My 80 year old father said it even sounded like my son Ryan. He tried to call my son on his cell phone 2 times and tried to call my sons father, Robert Bufford and did not get an answer. So he assumed it was his grandson. He was then contacted by a man whosaid his name was Steven Banks and he was a legal aid that worked for the bondsman and he needed to send $2,400.00 to get his grandson released from jail. He told him to send it Western Union phone#(###) ###-#### Lawyer # was(###) ###-#### the Western Union said they could not return the money to them because it had already been released but with my fathers permission they would investigate it. Western Union fraud #(###) ###-####It was sent to Yeribell ABREV, MA. from the Country Mart in Trumann, AR 72472. It cost them a total of $2,448.00 and local law inforcement said they did not investigate fraud cases.
Submitted: 24 days ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 24 days ago.


I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. Are you online now?

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 24 days ago.

This scam, for reasons which, unfortunately, are only too obvious, is known as the Grandparent's scam. Typically, it's run out out of West Africa, which is why the police just shrug and tell you they can't handle it. It occurs when hackers get a hold of someone's email or Facebook contact list and then they make calls or send messages pretending to be the Facebook or email account holder -- in this case your son -- and they claim that there's an emergency for which you have to send some money immediately.

It's the kind of request which can get very quick reflexive results from loving parents, grandparents and other family members. The scammer will ask for payment via a method which will get to them instantly and which will be untraceable. Usually that involves Western Union, MoneyGram or a Green Dot money Pak Card.

Once they get the money they ask for, they claim it immediately, and the transaction is irreversible. By the time the grandparents/victims calm down, make some phone calls, and find their family member is just fine, they are out money which they won't see again, unless these thieves can be found and brought to justice. Frankly, the prospect for that is very, very low since they could be anyone, anywhere in the world.

The FBI correctly informed you that you need to report it to them on their website. No doubt they sent you to their Internet Crime Complaint Center at On that site, the FBI is partnered with Interpol, which will make your case and details available to law enforcement agencies around the globe. But you need to understand that these people use entirely false contact information and they can literally disappear into cyberspace. The overwhelming number of scammers get completely away with their crime.

Where does that leave the grandparents? Unfortunately, unless they want to throw good money after bad and try to hire an international private investigator to see if he can find the scammers, it leaves them out their money, probably for good.

The only thing I can tell you is that when you are the victim of a crime -- as your father is here -- his unreimbursed losses are tax deductible. So he'll be able to get something back in the form of a deduction when he files his 2016 taxes.

Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 23 days ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.

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