With Grandparents Day coming up on Sunday and local authorities reporting an uptick in scams targeting seniors, staying vigilant against these cons is even more important.
Fraudsters are betting on the fact that seniors will come to their family's aid when their children or grandchildren are in distress and need money. This scam presents their target with a high-stress situation, starting with a panicked call supposedly from a lawyer, law enforcement official, or another family member. The caller claims that the relative needs financial help to post bail, pay hospital bills, or other false expenses.
To complete the scam, the con artist asks the senior to pay the emergency bills via wire transfer or with prepaid gift cards. Often, this can amount to thousands of dollars.
Before making the call, scammers comb the internet to learn more about the individual's loved ones. In today's culture of oversharing on social media, especially among younger users, grandparents and their grandchildren are an even more susceptible target for scams. Armed with important personal information, the caller can make the most convincing case.
If you receive a suspicious call claiming to be from or behalf of a relative in need, resist the urge to immediately send money. First, verify the caller's claim by contacting the grandchild or another family member, or ask some additional personal questions about the relative who is supposedly in an emergency.
Let's keep grandma and grandpa's wallets safe this weekend!