What do you know about the grandparent scam? According to the FBI’s website, the scam has been around for a decade. Scammers are able to pull off the scam by scouring social media accounts, digging into sites that show family histories, and looking up numbers on online phone directories. With a phone number in hand, the caller reaches a grandparent and acts convincingly on the phone.
How Does a Grandparent Scam Work?
It starts with a phone call to the grandparent. The caller claims to be the grandson or granddaughter and acts panicked. Something has happened while they were out of town. There are calls where the supposed grandchild has been arrested for driving under the influence, gotten into an accident, was robbed, or was arrested for some reason.
The caller says they need money desperately. The money has to be wired immediately or some calls may ask for prepaid American Express, MasterCard, or Visa gift cards. Often, the calls will come in at hours when seniors are likely to be sleeping and are less likely to be thinking with a clear head.
Seniors Continue to Fall for These Scams.
While these scams are frequently mentioned in the media, seniors continue to get drawn in. The pleading voice on the other end sounds convincing enough that the senior truly believes it is his or her grandchild.
In Fox Crossing, Wisconsin, a woman believed the caller was her grandson. He’s been arrested and needed close to $10,000 in bail money. She paid it. A Washington couple lost more than $25,000 paying bail and attorney fees for the person they thought was their grandson.
A Texas grandmother fell for the scam when the scammer knew her grandson’s nickname for her and information regarding other family members. She lost $12,000 in the scam.
How to Stop the Scam.
The most important thing for your parents to know is that they cannot immediately respond. If they get the call, they should take as much information as the scammer will give out and hang up. They should call that grandchild or the grandchild’s parents at numbers they know are correct.
Once they’ve talked to the grandchild, they’ll know it’s a scam. Any information that was gathered should be sent to the police. They should also call the Agency on Aging’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470 or fill out the online form at aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline.
When a parent has dementia, it’s essential that they have supervision to ensure they don’t fall for a scam. Caregivers can spend time with your mom or dad and take phone calls for them. If it’s a legitimate call, the home care aide can hand the phone to your parent. If it’s a scam, the caregiver can report it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Oakmont, CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003