Archived Story

Ask Trooper Rob: Know the facts before wiring money

Published 3:54am Friday, April 13, 2012

I would like to start this article with a big thank you to you, the public. It’s been a year since this article has started, and the feedback has been humbling.

It has made the Facebook pages, been in an internet version of the newspaper, and a blog places this article in the top 10 read articles weekly. So again, I thank you for the support of this opportunity to inform on traffic and criminal laws and safety tips.

Recently, there have been many reports from elderly victims. The elderly person receives a phone call, usually at night, but there have been some during the day.

Unreal emergency

On the other end of the line is a person claiming to be the elderly victim’s “grandchild,” and there is an emergency. The emergency has ranged from “Grandma, I’m in jail and need bond money” to “Grandpa, I’m on school break and stranded in a foreign country and being held by customs (or in a foreign jail) and need money to get back home.”

The elderly person is given instructions to “wire” a large amount of money via Western Union or some other type of money transfer immediately. They are also instructed to not try to call back as this will get the “grandchild” in further trouble. The elderly then wire the money, only to find out that they were scammed.

Do the homework

Anyone receiving a phone call or text such as this should not immediately jump to conclusions and wire the money. Do some follow-up, such as calling the “grandchild’s” parents to verify the story. Never give bank information over the phone or give other identifying information someone could use for identity theft or fraud. It’s your identity and bank account; do your best to protect it.

If you are in doubt, do not send any money or give any information. Personally verify it through other family members or contact your bank for further information. If you have been scammed, report it to your local jurisdictional police department.

Trooper John Ryan, 28, of the Marquette Post, was on patrol March 3, 1950, in a 1949 Ford patrol car.

The Upper Peninsula was experiencing blizzard conditions and the county trucks were clearing the roads with rotary plows, creating towering snow banks.

Ryan was helping stranded motorists move their cars off the road.

Just after 3 p.m., Ryan headed south on an old county road at the Vandenboom Crossing west of Marquette when his patrol car was struck by a South Shore passenger train. The car was dragged about 75 feet with Ryan pinned beneath it. He was found sometime later and pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believed the high snow banks covered the railroad crossing warning lights, preventing Ryan from seeing or hearing the oncoming train. The front end of the patrol car was struck by the train as the car pulled into the crossing.

Ryan was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and was originally stationed in Bay City when he joined the MSP on Aug.19, 1947. He resigned for a short time but re-enlisted on Nov. 20, 1948.

After a brief tour in Gladstone, he was reassigned to Marquette, where he is buried. Ryan was the 15th trooper to die in the line of duty.

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  • willross

    I feel terrible for the seniors who fell for this grandparent scam. Though anybody can be a victim, it’s a lot more difficult for these seniors because the money they have is probably all their life’s savings and meant for their retirement. From http://www.callercenter.com alone, most victims admitted they were usually skeptical about anonymous calls but as soon as they heard it was their “grandchild” on the other line, they panicked and wanted to help right away.

    It’s unfortunate that these scammers feel no remorse in taking advantage of the seniors genuine love and concern for their family members.

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