elderly couple looking out from beach to boats.

Don’t Fall Victim to the Grandparent Scam

Don’t Fall Victim to the Grandparent Scam

In 2022, the Consumer Sentinel Network received 2.4 million fraud reports. In terms of the number of fraud reports received, #1 on the list was Imposter Scams. The “grandparent scam” is one type that deliberately targets older Americans.

To commit this crime, scammers call claiming to be a family member in serious trouble and in need of money immediately. The scammer might say he’s stranded or has been mugged and call in the middle of the night to add to the urgency and confusion. Once the money is wired, the victim later finds out that it wasn’t their grandchild they were helping, it was a criminal.

You can never be too safe. Follow these steps if you believe you have encountered a scammer:

  • Confirm the caller. Scammers are using social networking sites to gain the personal information of friends and relatives to carry out their crimes. Verify the caller by calling them back on a known number or consult a trusted family member before acting on any request.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Scammers want to execute their crimes quickly. In this type of scam, they count on fear and your concern for your loved one to make you act before you think. The more questions you ask the more inclined they will be to ditch the scam if they suspect you’re on to them.
  • Never give personal information to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and the other party is trusted.
  • Never rush into a financial decision and trust your instincts. Don’t be fooled—if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be right. Feel free to say no and get more information before you send money to someone.

Being scammed can be a traumatic experience, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and prevent the scammer from victimizing others. One of the most important steps is to report the scam to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Remember, reporting scams not only helps you get the justice you deserve, but also helps to protect other vulnerable people from falling prey to the same scam. If you suspect you have been scammed, don't hesitate to report it. Call the FTC at 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357) or visit their website to file a complaint. Stay vigilant, stay safe and help us put an end to scammers' fraudulent activities.