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What You Need to Know About the Grandparent Scam

Grandparents are often among the most important people in our lives. As we celebrate them on September 9, know that they are at risk for the “grandparent scam.” Here’s how grandparents are targeted. Have you ever encountered this scam?

How It Works:

You get a frantic call from someone claiming to be your grandson or granddaughter.  The caller says there’s an emergency and asks you to send money right away. But there’s a good chance this is an imposter trying to steal your money through the “grandparent scam.”  

Scammers usually claim to be in a desperate situation, such as being involved in a car accident or needing money to get out of a legal mess. The caller poses as your grandchild, or a law enforcement officer or attorney calling on your grandchild’s behalf – whatever it takes to sound convincing.  Read an account of how the scam played out for one grandmother.

What You Should Know:

  • The caller may have personal information, such as family member’s names that they could have found on social media sites.
  • The caller will likely ask that you send the money by wire transfer or gift card.
  • They will likely beg you to not tell anyone. 

What You Should Do:

  • Try to reach the person the caller is claiming to be directly. If you can’t reach him or her, contact a friend or family member to try and validate the emergency.
  • Ask some questions that would be hard for an imposter to answer, like a pet’s name or a mother’s birthday.
  • Don't send money unless you're sure the situation is real. 
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