Caring grandparents, don’t act too quickly!
Emergency frauds usually target loving grandparents, taking advantage of their emotions to rob them of their money. The typical scam starts with a grandparent receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild. The “grandchild” goes on to say they’re in trouble: common misfortunes include having been in a car accident, getting jailed, or trouble returning home from a foreign country — and they need money immediately.
The caller will ask you questions, getting you to reveal personal information. They’ll also swear you to secrecy, saying they’re embarrassed and don’t want other family members to find out what’s happened. One variation of this ploy features 2 people on the phone, 1 pretending to be a grandchild and the other a police officer or lawyer. In other cases, the scammer will pretend to be an old neighbor or a family friend in trouble.
Before sending any money, call your grandchild, neighbor or friend at a number that you already have — not one provided by the caller — to confirm the story. Don’t be shy in discussing the situation with a trusted friend or family member before sending any money.