BBB Warns Against Grandparents Scam
Well-meaning senior citizens who think they are helping a grandchild in distress are becoming victims of another wave of the so-called “Grandparent Scam,” warns Better Business Bureau.
Typically, the grandparent receives a frantic phone call from someone they are led to believe is their grandchild. A scammer, posing as their grandchild, explains that he or she is in trouble and needs their help. The “grandchild” might claim he or she caused a car accident or was arrested for drug possession. With the new wave of calls, victims are also contacted by someone claiming to be a police officer or lawyer representing the grandchild in court.
The “grandchild” pleads to the grandparents to not tell his or her parents and asks that they wire thousands of dollars for reasons including posting bail, repairing the grandchild’s car, covering lawyer’s fees or even paying hospital bills for a person the grandchild injured in a car accident.
Senior citizens are frequent targets of scammers because they are often trusting and quickly willing to help a loved one. Seniors are also a target because seniors can have Social Security income, pensions, investments and plenty in savings.
BBB offers some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a “grandparent scam”:
Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Check out the story with other family and friends, but call directly. Don’t call the phone number provided by the caller or caller ID. Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly.
Know what your family members are sharing online. You may not have control over your family's social media accounts, but familiarize yourself with what they are sharing online.
A law enforcement officer will never ask for cash in the event a family member has a warrant.
Do NOT wire transfer or purchase gift cards for anyone claiming to be a law enforcement officer or any other government representative
Never give out or confirm personal financial or other sensitive information over the phone.
If you receive a call similar to this one involving law enforcement, contact your local law enforcement agency directly to verify any/all information.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. Visit us online at bbb.org or call our office (843) 766-9616 or (800) 892-3584 for more tips.