Some of the most heartless scammers will tug at your heartstrings as a way to get into your wallet. Two examples of this are romance scams or the grandparent scam. In romance scams, scammers will target potential victims on dating sites, through social media or on chat boards. They’ll be smart, attractive and personable. After they’ve earned your trust, comes an urgent request for money. Usually it comes with a promise to repay, but more often than not, your match disappears – with your money – for good.
In the case of the grandparent scam, criminals try to tap into your love and concern for a close family member, typically a grandchild. They will claim that your grandchild is in distress and needs you to send money to help. They hope that you will act swiftly in your concern, and before you are able to look into the claim of distress.
How It Works
In each of these scams, scammers are working to gain your trust and then tap into your emotions.
They will often create a sense of urgency, whether they are asking for money for themselves or on behalf of your grandchild. They want you to act before you can give that thought or confirm if the story is true.
What You Should Know
In both of these scam types, requests for payment will typically come in difficult-to-trace forms. This could be in the form of prepaid cards or by having money sent to a specific Western Union office.
To make their stories sound more credible, scammers will use information gathered from your social or public profiles. They may also gather small details during conversation or messaging.
What You Should Do
Look for the red flags you just read about, and if anything seems off, take a pause. Hang up the phone. Talk to a trusted friend. And trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Make your social networks private. It makes it harder for potential romance scammers to find you, and it also makes it harder for grandparent scammers to get the personal info needed to convince you of the scam.
Today I reced this email from suleiman Masoud <email@example.com> :
I hope your week is going great? Actually, Please I need to get an eBay Gift Card for my niece, Its her birthday but I can't do this now because I'm currently traveling, Can you help get it from any store around you? I'll pay back as soon as I am back. I will be glad if you can help me with $300 ($100 OR $300 denomination) You can buy from any Walmart, CVS, Kroger, Best Buy, 7-Eleven, Rite Aid or Walgreen stores around you. I need you to scratch the back of the card to reveal the pin, then take a snapshot of it showing the pin and have the image attached and email to me here.