The grandparent scam is one of the easiest to fall for because for most grandparents there is nothing they wouldn’t do for their grandchildren. Be wary any time you receive a call from someone claiming to be your grandchild or other close relative requesting money. As a part of this scam he or she will claim that they are in trouble. For example, he or she went out of town for a wedding or a funeral, had too much to drink, and now they have been thrown in jail with DUI charges.
The scammer will likely know multiple family member’s names and there is a chance that a scammer will go so far as to put “their attorney” or a “police officer” on the phone to make it seem more convincing if you seem suspicious. One sign to watch out for is if they ask for bail money in the form of a gift cards or a money transfer.
Criminals can “spoof” phone numbers of family members, which means it could appear that the call is coming from your family member’s phone number. This does not necessarily mean that the call is coming from his/her phone.
- Ask questions only your grandchild would know.
- Remain calm and level headed.
- Know that most jails or legitimate bondsmen do not accept gift cards as a form of payment
- Do not confirm any personal information if you become suspicious that it might be a scam.
- Do not trust that just because your caller ID registers that you are receiving a call from a family member that it is legitimate. Scammers can “spoof” your loved one's numbers to trick you into believing them.
- Do not send any money until you call other family members to confirm the story, even if the caller begs you not to “tell mom and dad”.