What You Need to Know About Grandparents Scam
Grandparents are unwittingly losing lots of money to con artists, and this is how the scam works. These scams use the grandparent scam calls where they call alleging an emergency involving their young loved ones. Scammers will tell you that someone got hurt, kidnapped, or in danger, and they will ask the grandparents to wire money to them immediately.
Common scenarios include:
Grandma scam occurs when a grandma receives frantic calls from a “grandchild” claiming to be under arrest in a foreign country and needs money wired ASAP. The caller usually does not wish the parents to find out.
At times, the caller poses as a kidnapper or an arresting officer, a lawyer, or a hospital asking for money to assist the supposed grandchild.
As much as it's referred to as a grandparent scam, criminals might claim to be a niece, nephew, or even family friend.
Scammers comb the internet and social media sites, grasping people's information on their address, travel family, and friends.
Mostly, the scammers request that the money gets wired via Western Union or MoneyGram or, in some cases, to provide account routing numbers. The grandparent scam is successful because wiring money is similar to sending cash. The sender is not protected. It is not possible to reverse the transaction, trace the money or recover the payment.
How To Avoid Falling Victim
So how can you avoid falling victim to the grandma scam calls or the grandparent phone scam?
No matter how moving the story sounds, resist the impulse to act quickly.
Verify the call's legitimacy by asking a question that only your grandchild would know or verify with a different grandchild or family member about the actual story.
Never send money, especially overseas, based on a phone conversation. The money is untraceable.
Red Flags to Watch Out For
Be skeptical when you get a call where:
A grandchild calls from a distant location requesting you to wire money.
A grandchild insists that you do not share the information with any other family member.
The call comes late at night as scammers understand that the elderly can get confused more easily.
Until you confirm from an objective third party that the claim is true, be vigilant and note the inconsistency in the storyline. Since scamming is a crime that leads to grandparent scam jail sentencing, you can report the scam to the police for follow-up.