The Grandparent scam hits the elderly particularly hard. Those who fall victim to this despicable ploy feel ashamed, embarrassed and usually have lost thousands of dollars. This scam involves one to several people who pose over the phone as a grandchild, a police officer, or a lawyer. The grandchild or officer/lawyer call a grandparent claiming to need money, usually because the grandchild was travelling and lost a wallet, got arrested or got into some type of trouble where money is needed to resolve the situation. The scammers know a lot about the grandchild and enough about relatives to be convincing. They often call in the middle of the night to prey on people who have been startled from a deep sleep. They demand that their victims wire money to them.
"This is a sad reality," said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. "Some grandparents who have become victims of this scam, won't even answer their phone when their real grandchild calls, for fear they are being scammed again. And often they won't tell anyone that this has happened for fear of losing their independence. We have to talk to our seniors and tell them to never, never give money to help their grandchildren until they've verified the information."
This can be tricky because often the "grandchild" will plead that the grandparent not say anything to the grandchild's parents. Remind seniors to:
· Try to reach the grandchild the caller is claiming to be, directly.
· Contact family members to validate that the grandchild is truly in dire need of money.
· Ask the caller questions that would be hard to answer, but would help to confirm it's truly a grandchild on the phone.
· Don't send money.