BOSTON (WWLP) – A rise in an ongoing hoax that targets older adults by people posing as their grandchildren for financial gain has instituted legislative action to be taken.

Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin testified Tuesday on the need for legislation that would allow financial institutions to intervene when they suspect certain customers are being exploited. If you have not heard of the grandparent scheme, there has been an increase in callers stating that a family member is arrested and needs bail money.

The con artists claim to work for the government gaining personal information for access to phones, computers, or bank accounts. A case where an elderly Pembroke woman who was swindled out of $9,500 was brought forward to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services Tuesday morning.

According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office, Duane Wanty testified that his 93-year-old mother believed her granddaughter to have been in a car accident and in need of bail money, after the grandmother received a tearful phone call from someone who sounded like Mr. Wanty’s niece.

Galvin is proposing a new law that would allow banks to put a hold on suspicious transactions that may be exploitative. A bank teller does not currently have the authority to put a hold on large cash withdrawals.

“Once they are separated from their money, it’s virtually untraceable,” Galvin said in his testimony. “We need to empower people with the opportunity to make sure they can do something about this. If this was somebody holding people up in the street, we’d do something immediately. This is no different.”

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