SALT LAKE CITY — The state Department of Commerce Thursday received a report of a scam targeting the grandparents of LDS missionaries with a ploy that their grandchild was in trouble and needed them to send money.
According to the report, Idaho grandparents of a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received a call to send $3,885 via wire transfer to an alleged bail bondsman for bail and court fees to help their grandson, who supposedly was facing DUI charges.
The details of the family’s account mirror reports of others who have also reported the “grandparent scam” calls to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection. The con has drawn concern from the LDS Church.
“If family members receive a call of this nature, they should always hang up with the caller and contact the mission office or the church’s Missionary Department to verify the information,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, executive director of the department. “If a missionary is indeed in trouble, the church would reach out to the family through their stake president, and would never ask for money from the family.”
Families with missionaries currently serving are advised to be careful about what they communicate publicly regarding their child’s location, names of companions or any other identifying details as to their location, which could be used for fraud, warned Francine Giani, Commerce Department executive director.