You may have heard of this one. You may even know someone who’s had it attempted on them. In any case, you need to beware of the “grandparent scam,” which MSN just reported on. As written by Matthew Cochrane, here’s how it works:
“…the fraudster will pretend to be a loved one who is in trouble and needs money immediately. As an economic crimes detective, I’ve investigated a number of these cases and have heard a wide variety of stories. Sometimes the fake family member reports they were skiing on vacation and suffered horrible injuries and need money to pay for medical bills before giving the phone to the ‘doctor.’ Other times, they were supposedly arrested because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and need bail money, and then they give the phone over to a ‘law enforcement officer’ or ‘lawyer.’ The details of the story differ, but there are always common characteristics at its root.
The scammer tells a quick story of woe before giving the phone over to an alleged authority figure. The phony family member will always have an immediate need for money and urge the intended target to keep this need a secret. This request for money will immediately be followed with instructions for wiring the funds to desired location. When the victim plays along with the secret, they don’t verify the story with other family members before wiring the money.”
It’s a terrible truth that there are people out there that prey on the love and vulnerability of our elderly. As reported in the CBS News video embedded in the post, the FTC received more than 400,000 reports of “imposter” scams (the grandparent scam and related scams) in 2016. It happens a lot. Don’t fall for it—and spread the word.
For the full story, the video report and tips for staying safe here, see the full story here.
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