Today is Grandparents Day where we honor our grandparents and celebrate the special bond they have with their grandchildren. However, scammers take advantage of this special day by creating a devious scam that would fool anyone. These scammers will go as far as to stalk the social media accounts of these grandparents and grandchildren to figure out more information about them. They then take this information and pretend to be the grandchild, then call their grandparent to scam them out of money. Keep reading to find out how grandparent scams work and how to avoid them.
How Often Do Grandparent Scams Happen?
Grandparent scams happen more often than you might think. According to AARP, there have been 91,000 cases of a scammer pretending to be a friend or loved one from the years 2015 through the first quarter of 2020. There was even an instance where law enforcement caught a scammer in action. This New York City man was charged with scamming many grandparents out of their money across the state of New Jersey and made thousands of dollars doing this in May of 2020.
According to the FCC, a scammer pretended to be someone’s grandchild and called their grandparents claiming that they got into a serious accident in Western New York State. The scammer asked the grandparents to post bond so that they could be released, then another scammer pretended to be their attorney and claimed to need $15,000 in cash! These scammers then use rideshare companies to go to the grandparents and steal their cash.
How Do Grandparent Scams Work?
Grandparent scams happen when a scammer impersonates a grandchild and calls the grandparent claiming they are in trouble. They can also message the grandparent via email or instant message, and there have also been instances where they come to your door according to the FTC. They use deepfake cloning to make their voice sound like the grandchild so that the grandparents don’t suspect anything. They claim that they need money in order to get out of a terrible situation and beg their grandparents to help them.
The grandparents become scared and know that they are willing to do anything for their grandchildren. Therefore, they send the money to the scammer thinking that they’re helping their grandchild. However, once the grandparents send the money, the scammer demands more money as their grandchild in order to get out of danger. The scammer’s tactics leave the grandparents’ bank account drained as they realize that it was all a scam.
Signs of a Grandparent Scam
- Your grandchild is suddenly calling you claiming they are in danger
- Your grandchild comes up with excuses over the phone as to why they urgently need money.
- Your grandchild comes up with fake stories such as getting in car accidents, going to jail, or going to the hospital.
- Something seems off about the character of your grandchild.
- The grandchild’s voice and tone seem off to you.
- After contacting your grandchild’s phone, they deny that they ever asked you for money.
How to Avoid Grandparent Scams
- Don’t give anyone any money over the phone or Internet no matter who they say they are.
- Don’t believe that it’s your grandchild on the phone right away even if it sounds like it.
- Contact your grandchild on their phone before giving in to the pressure of a demanding call.
- Only give money to your grandchild through their known bank account instead of sending it to them a new way.
- Don’t give anyone any personal or financial information over the phone or Internet no matter who they say they are.
- Don’t give someone you don’t know any personal or financial information no matter what their excuse is.
- Report any scam that you’ve been a part of to the FTC and IC3.
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At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with after reading about grandparent scams.
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