Last month, we described two fraud schemes aimed at seniors – Medicare and obituaries. Here are the next two situations that may come your way. Be alert and be prepared.
THE GRANDPARENT SCAM
In this scenario, the caller often begins by saying something like “Hi Grandma/Grandpa, do you know who this is?” They are hoping you will guess the name of a grandchild. If you offer a name, the caller has just established a fake identity with the information you provided.
Next they will usually ask for money to solve an unexpected financial problem such as overdue rent, a car accident, or a lost wallet or purse. They will make it sound urgent and ask you not to tell anyone. They will also need the money to come by Western Union or MoneyGram.
To Protect Yourself: Never offer any caller family names or any other information. Ask the caller personal questions about your real grandchild that an imposter could not answer correctly. After you hang up, verify the story by calling the parents or other relatives of the grandchild. And above all, never wire money, offer bank account information, or give credit card numbers to anyone under any uncertain conditions.
THE FAKE ACCIDENT SCAM
Similar to the Grandparent Scam, a con artist calls and claims that your child, grandchild, or another relative is in the hospital and needs money immediately. They request the urgent transfer of funds to cover expenses.
To Protect Yourself: As with the grandparent scam, never offer information to the caller. After you hang up, verify the story by calling other relatives. And again, never wire money, buy gift cards, or share bank information or credit card numbers with anyone under uncertain conditions.