Con artists will go to great lengths to get between you and your money. Sadly, this includes taking advantage of your love for your family. They are putting a new twist on an old scam to target grandparents’ hearts and wallets.
How It Works
• Scammers will contact you, claiming to be your grandchild or calling on behalf of your grandchild.
• With a nod to the pandemic, they will explain your grandchild fell ill and was rushing to the hospital and wrecked his car – and possibly even hurt someone – and is now in jail.
• They’ll ask you to send money right away – often through a money transfer service or by purchasing gift cards and sharing the activation information on the back of the cards.
What You Should Know
• Contact is typically by phone, but could come through email, text and/or social media.
• The calls often come late at night – scammers hope you may be less clear-headed if you are tired or have been sleeping.
• The scammers will typically offer just enough detail to make the story seem convincing – they may even give the phone to another scammer who will claim to be a doctor, police officer or lawyer.
What You Should Do
• Ask the caller questions only your grandchild could answer, such as the name of your grandchild’s first pet or where he went to elementary school.
• Hang up and call your grandchild’s phone number or call other family members to see if they can verify the story.
• Check your privacy settings on social media to make sure only friends and family can see your posts and photos; otherwise, the information they can find about you can be used to deceive you in scams just like this.
• You can report scams and fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at 877‑382‑4357 or to the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877‑908‑3360.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family and visit the Fraud Watch Network.
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