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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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Question How can I protect myself from the Tech Support Scam?    Answer The Tech Support Scam is one of the most common scams right now. Microsoft did research around 2015 and found out that billions of dollars had been lost to this scam. So thank you for warning the AARP online community.   A few things about this scam to keep in mind and to help you stay safe:   Computer companies don't proactively reach out to consumers to let them know about potential virus on their computers. If anyone calls asking to remote access into your computer, hang up. If you receive a pop up on your screen telling you that there is a virus and you need to call a phone number, click out of the box, or you may even have to "hard shutdown" your system to get it to go away, but don't call the number or click on any links. Never give personal or financial information to anyone who calls you, nor pay for any services like this, in pre-paid gift cards.  
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Question What is an app to alert of scams on mobile devices?   Answer There are many apps in the App Store. Some are free, some cost. A few of the products are hiya, Truecaller, PrivacyStar, and many others. Find the one that looks best for you by reading through the reviews and knowing which features you want.   Also, on your landline, there is a service called nomorobo, that operates similar blocking services on traditional landlines. 
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