AG warns of recent phone scam targeting the elderly

PROVIDENCE – R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha warned residents Thursday of a recent phone scam that targets the elderly.

The scam, which Neronha called the “Grandparent Scam,” involves the caller posing as a grandchild or relative in urgent need of money, asking for an immediate wire transfer. Sometimes the caller pretends to be a close friend, lawyer or a police officer.

The caller invents a scenario in which the victim’s relative or friend is stuck in prison, just had a car accident, has lost their wallet, lost an airline ticket or had their credit card stolen in a foreign country.

Neronha said that the calls have even been spoofing Caller ID to display the Attorney General’s office as the caller.

- Advertisement -

“We have warned Rhode Island consumers about the so called ‘Grandparent Scam’ in the past, which targets the elderly and involves the caller posing as a grandchild or relative in urgent need of money,” said Neronha in prepared remarks. “We were recently notified that many of these calls display the phone number of the Attorney General’s office on the Caller ID.  Rhode Islanders should rest assured that no one from the Attorney’s General office will be calling them to ask for money. Anyone receiving such calls should hang up immediately and not share any personal information with the caller.”

Neronha even said that residents should avoid answering calls from unknown numbers, or if they do, to avoid answering yes or no questions with unverified callers.

The attorney general urged anyone who feels that they have been a target of a scam to visit or contact the AG’s consumer protection unit at (401) 274-4400.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. He can be reached at